David Brady

Senior Fellow emeritus
Research Team: 
Awards and Honors:
American Academy of Arts and Sciences

David Brady holds the Bowen H. and Janice Arthur McCoy Professor of Political Science in the Stanford Graduate School of Business and is a senior fellow emeritus at the Hoover Institution.  He has published seven books and more than a hundred papers in journals and books.  Among his most recent books are Leadership and Growth (World Bank Publications, 2010) with Michael Spence, Revolving Gridlock: Politics and Policy from Carter to Bush II (Westview Press, 2006), and Red and Blue Nation? Characteristics and Causes of America’s Polarized Politics with Pietro Nivola (Brookings Institution Press, 2007).  His recent articles include “Why Is Health Care Reform So Difficult?” with Daniel Kessler, Journal of Health Politics, Policy and Law, April 2010; “Putting the Public’s Money Where Its Mouth Is”  with Daniel Kessler, Health Affairs: The Policy Journal of the Health Sphere, August 2009, pages 917–25; “Leadership and Politics: A Perspective from the Growth Commission,” with Michael Spence, Oxford Review of Economic Policy, 25, no. 2 (2009): 205–18; “The 2010 Elections: Why Did Political Science Forecasts Go Awry?” with Morris P. Fiorina and Arjun Wilkins, 2011.

Brady has been on continual appointment at Stanford University since 1986, where he has served as associate dean for Academic Affairs in the Graduate School of Business (GSB) and as vice provost for Distance Learning.  He has twice been a fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences and was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1987.  He presently holds the Bowen H. and Janice Arthur McCoy Professorship in Ethics at the Business School and was deputy director of the Hoover Institution from 2004-2014.

During his teaching career, he won the Dinkelspiel Award for service to undergraduates, the Richard Lyman Prize for service to alumni, the Bob Davies Award and the Jaedicke Silver Cup from the GSB, and the first Phi Beta Kappa Teaching Award given at Stanford.  He also won the George Brown Teaching Award at Rice University.

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Recent Commentary

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Area 45: The Race For The Presidency With Dave Brady

interview with David Bradyvia Area 45
Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Is Bernie Sanders a Trumpian disruptor and is Joe Biden destined for Jeb Bush’s fate?


Party Instability: Why American Politics Feels Broken

by David Bradyvia PolicyEd
Wednesday, May 1, 2019

American politics feels broken because existing voting blocs are regrouping and reconsidering which issues motivate them and which political party they support. Ongoing economic and demographic structural changes have led to control of the legislative and executive branches shifting back and forth. While this is not the first time in the history this has occurred, political parties will need to figure out a winning combination of policies that can consistently win them elections in order to stabilize American politics.

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Area 45: The 2020 Presidential Field With David Brady And Doug Rivers

interview with David Brady, Douglas Riversvia Area 45
Monday, March 4, 2019

Off to the races for 2020.


Flipping The House: What '94, '06, '10 Turnout Tells Us

by David Brady, Brett Parkervia Real Clear Politics
Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Much of the press coverage of the 2018 House elections has focused on identifying the most competitive House races and attempting to predict their results. Some academic models have also adopted this tactic, basing their conclusions on an analysis of highly contested districts. Still others run regressions using a combination of presidential approval ratings, generic congressional ballot surveys, and other miscellaneous factors such as disposable income.

The Supreme Court

Polls: Opinions On Kavanaugh Grew More Entrenched

by David Bradyvia Real Clear Politics
Saturday, October 6, 2018

When Labor Day vacation ended and Congress returned from recess, President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh, appeared to be on track to garner a Senate majority, and even win a handful of Democratic votes. On Sept. 14, however, the first of several allegations of sexual misconduct emerged against Judge Kavanaugh, and on Sept. 28, the Senate committee and the country heard testimony from him and his accuser, Christine Blasey Ford. Over that time period, public opinion concerning the nominee shifted dramatically.


Will 2018 Be A Wave Election?

by David Brady, Brett Parkervia Real Clear Politics
Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Looking at 2018 less than two months before the election gives the Democrats the advantage in numbers, vote intention and a small lead among independents, all of which point to a Democratic takeover of the House of Representatives. The missing variable is, of course, turnout.

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Will Democrats Take Over the House?

by David Bradyvia Defining Ideas
Thursday, May 17, 2018

Six months out, the signs are good.


What American History Can Teach Us

by David Bradyvia Stanford Magazine
Friday, May 11, 2018

When journalists and pundits write about or mention polarization, they do not normally make distinctions about who is polarized: members of congress, political party elites or average americans. Nor do they distinguish between different intensities of polarization.


Trump And Women, Independents: Worrisome Signs

by David Brady, Brett Parkervia Real Clear Politics
Thursday, March 22, 2018

Election results from Virginia, Alabama and last week’s special election in Pennsylvania’s 18th Congressional District show that President Trump appears to have considerable weakness among women voters, particularly those with a college education. In addition, our August 24, 2017 RealClearPolitics analysis showed Trump’s growing weakness among Independents. In this article, we look at the president’s job approval ratings, focusing on these same two segments of the electorate.


Trump Gains Among Independents, Republicans After Tax Bill

by David Brady, Brett Parkervia Real Clear Politics
Friday, February 2, 2018

Donald Trump won the presidency on the back of strong support from Republicans and a substantial margin among Independents. After the failure to repeal the Affordable Care Act, his status declined among Independents and, to a lesser extent, Republicans. Inside the White House, the hope was that a September pivot to tax reform would turn things around for the president. It did not happen immediately.