David Brady

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

David Brady is the Davies Family Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution and the Bowen H. and Janice Arthur McCoy Professor of Political Science in the Stanford Graduate School of Business.  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

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.

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Trump, One Year Later

by David Bradyvia Defining Ideas
Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Independent voters are essential to Republican electoral success, but Trump has lost some support among them. 


GOP, Independent Voters Set High Bar For Impeachment

by David Brady, Brett Parkervia Real Clear Politics
Friday, August 25, 2017

In July 2016, Donald Trump trailed Hillary Clinton by as many as 10 percentage points in general election polling, and some pundits began to wonder if the GOP would consider abandoning him for a more palatable nominee. Such speculation turned out to be baseless; as an earlier RealClearPolitics article noted, Republican voters were broadly opposed to replacing Trump on the ticket, even if he were to fall 20 points behind Clinton.

Analysis and Commentary

Trump Losing The Supporters He Needs Most: Independents

by David Brady, Brett Parkervia Real Clear Politics
Thursday, August 24, 2017

Donald Trump was successful as a presidential candidate in part because he carried the Independent vote. In recent years, Democrats have enjoyed roughly a five-percentage-point lead over Republicans in terms of partisan identification, which means that to win, Republican presidential candidates need to do well with Independents. 


Delivering On Promises To The Middle Class

by Michael Spence, David Bradyvia Project Syndicate
Sunday, April 2, 2017

US President Donald Trump owes his electoral victory largely to the older white middle- and working-class voters who have missed out on many of the benefits of the economic-growth patterns of the last three decades. Yet his administration is preparing to pursue an economic program that, while positive in some respects, will not deliver the reversal of economic fortune his key constituency was promised.