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 (2016–18).

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

Power to the States

by David Davenportvia Townhall
Tuesday, January 30, 2018

One encouraging development is that power is leaving Washington, DC and heading to the states. Policy wonks call it devolution, I call it progress.

Analysis and Commentary

What Kind Of Country Wants Media Stars For President?

by David Davenportvia Townhall
Friday, January 26, 2018

Social media blew up when it appeared that Oprah Winfrey might run for president. Think of it: two billionaire media stars who had never held political office running for president. Only in America.

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Power to the States

by David Davenport, Lenny Mendoncavia Hoover Digest
Friday, January 26, 2018

Disarray in Washington has a silver lining: state and local governments reclaiming their essential role in American democracy. 

Featured

Congress And The Lost Art Of Compromise

by David Davenportvia Forbes
Wednesday, January 24, 2018

It is not difficult to identify “lost arts”—things we used to do but do not do any longer—in Washington, DC: civility, bipartisanship, courage, just to name a few. But one lost art underlies the others and has led to the inability of Congress to carry out its most basic responsibilities--pass a budget or keep the government open. The most fundamental lost art of all is the lost art of compromise.

Analysis and Commentary

Previewing Trump’s First State Of The Union Speech

by David Davenportvia Townhall
Sunday, January 21, 2018

A president’s first state of the union message is an important occasion. But in our era of political theater, there is some danger that this year the sideshow will be overshadow the main attraction. Several Democratic members of Congress say they will boycott the event.

Analysis and Commentary

A Cancer Growing On Congress

by David Davenportvia Townhall Review
Wednesday, January 10, 2018

There is a cancer growing on Congress. It is the curse of party-line voting. The biggest legislation of the Trump administration is the tax bill, passed with only Republican votes. And the biggest of the Obama administration: Obamacare, again passed on a party-line vote with only Democrats.

Featured

What Kind Of Country Wants Oprah Versus The Donald For President?

by David Davenportvia Forbes
Tuesday, January 9, 2018

What kind of country have we become that we like billionaire media stars with no political or government experience running for president? Citizens have responsibilities in the electoral process and we need to quit voting to make statements and start paying attention to policy and governing.

Featured

The Tax Bill Needs Follow-On Spending Cuts

by David Davenportvia Townhall
Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Although a tax cut may have been a nice Christmas gift, it needs some follow-on spending cuts to work. At best, Republicans have eaten their dessert first, waiting to eat their spending cut vegetables later; at worst, they will have increased the federal deficit by another trillion dollars or more.

Analysis and Commentary

Jerry Brown’s Blue Christmas

by David Davenportvia Townhall
Thursday, December 28, 2017

California governor Jerry Brown has been everywhere, preaching the gospel of blue-state California. California wildfires are the curse of climate change, he told 60 Minutes, while he whisks off to yet another climate conference in Paris, warning that the world is on the road to hell.

Featured

Jerry Brown Is Dreaming Of A Blue Christmas

by David Davenportvia Forbes
Wednesday, December 20, 2017

While traditionalists dream of a white, snowy Christmas, California governor Jerry Brown dreams of a blue one: a blue state, with a blue governor, aggressively pursuing blue-state policies.

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