David Davenport

Research Fellow
Biography: 

David Davenport is a research fellow specializing in international law and treaties, constitutional federalism, and American politics and law.

Davenport is the former president of Pepperdine University (1985–2000). Under his leadership, the university experienced significant growth in quality and reputation. Davenport cofounded Common Sense California and the Davenport Institute for Public Engagement and Civic Leadership. He also served on the board of California Forward, a major bipartisan reform group, and was a member of Governor Schwarzenegger’s California Performance Review Commission. He is also a visiting fellow at the Ashbrook Center (2016–17).

His work on policy appears in a number of places, including a regular column at Forbes.com and regular radio commentaries on the Salem Radio Network and Townhall.com.

He has coauthored two books with his colleague Gordon Lloyd:  Rugged Individualism:  Dead or Alive? (2017) and The New Deal and Modern American Conservatism:  A Defining Rivalry (2013).  Both books offer distinctive ways of understanding both the current and the historic debates between progressives and conservatives.  

Davenport has also contributed chapters to Hoover books on values in a free society and legal threats to American values and has authored articles in Policy Review on “The New Diplomacy” and “The Politics of Literacy.” Davenport is a popular public speaker, having served for several years as a world affairs lecturer for Crystal Cruises.

Davenport earned a BA with distinction in international relations from Stanford University and a JD from the University of Kansas’s School of Law, where he was elected to Order of the Coif and earned national and international awards in moot court competitions.

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Recent Commentary

Analysis and Commentary

Donald Trump Rediscovers Franklin Roosevelt’s Forgotten Man—Or Is It Someone Else?

by David Davenport, Gordon Lloydvia History News Network
Sunday, February 19, 2017

With many uncertainties about Trumpism, one thing we know for sure: Donald Trump’s key constituency is “the forgotten men and women.” His first tweet as president-elect promised that “the forgotten man and woman will never be forgotten again.” Indeed, the forgotten men and women were recurring characters in a flurry of campaign speeches he gave just before the election, the people who “built our country,” he said, the “middle class.”

Featured

Religious Liberty Questions Are In The Courts And Agencies

by David Davenportvia Townhall
Friday, February 17, 2017

Some churches took heart when President Trump said he would work to do away with the Johnson Amendment, part of the tax code that prohibits churches from endorsing political candidates.

Analysis and Commentary

Will Trump Get Past The Easy Religious Liberty Questions To The Hard One?

by David Davenportvia Forbes
Wednesday, February 15, 2017

President Donald Trump recently announced in his own colorful way that he would “destroy” the Johnson Amendment, a 1954 amendment to the tax code that prohibits churches and other nonprofits from endorsing or opposing political candidates. This appeared to be a gift from President Trump to the evangelical Christian community that ultimately supported his candidacy.

Analysis and Commentary

The Trump Flurry

by David Davenportvia Townhall
Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Not since the days of Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal, under the pressures of the Great Depression, have we seen an opening presidential act like Donald Trump’s. We have sent special forces to Yemen, left the Trans Pacific Trade Agreement, reopened major pipeline projects, nominated a Supreme Court justice, and changed the rules of immigration.

Analysis and Commentary

The Power And Peril Of Executive Orders And Party-Line Votes

by David Davenportvia Townhall
Monday, February 13, 2017

In his first week in office, President Donald Trump managed to undo much of President Obama’s legacy via executive orders. This is a cautionary tale that presidents who lead by unilateral action, and pass important laws with party-line votes, can see their legacy quickly undone by the next president using the same tools. 

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Return of the “Forgotten Man”

by David Davenportvia Hoover Digest
Friday, January 27, 2017

American leaders like to invoke this character to win elections. What can the new administration do for him? 

Featured

How Trump Managed To Undo Obama's Legacy In One Week

by David Davenportvia Forbes
Friday, January 27, 2017

Week One of the Donald Trump presidency is a cautionary tale that presidents who build their legacy on executive orders and party-line votes may find their work undone rather quickly by the next administration using those same tools.

Analysis and Commentary

Donald Trump's Inaugural Address: Can You Hear Me Now?

by David Davenportvia Forbes
Friday, January 20, 2017

Did anyone seriously expect to hear a different Donald Trump as president than they experienced as a candidate? If so, they were disappointed by Trump’s inaugural address. It was direct, it repeated his campaign promises, and then, in about 16 minutes, it was finished. 

Analysis and Commentary

Battle Lines Are Redrawn As Democrats Rediscover The 10th Amendment And State Power

by David Davenportvia Forbes
Friday, January 13, 2017

A funny thing happened on the way to the new Donald Trump administration: Democrats have rediscovered states’ rights and local government powers under the 10th Amendment to the Constitution. Why?

Analysis and Commentary

A Tale Of Two Trumps?

by David Davenportvia Townhall
Friday, January 13, 2017

Abraham Lincoln appointed three men who competed against him for the presidency to his cabinet, creating a talented and now famous “team of rivals.” Donald Trump’s cabinet has its own unusual flavor, creating a kind of dual presidency.

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