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 was a visiting fellow at the Ashbrook Center working on civic education from 2016 to 2018.

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

He has coauthored three books with his colleague Gordon Lloyd: How Public Policy Became War (2019), Rugged Individualism: Dead or Alive? (2017), and The New Deal and Modern American Conservatism: A Defining Rivalry (2013). These 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

Featured

War Is The New Normal In Washington

by David Davenportvia San Francisco Chronicle
Friday, May 17, 2019

I have some bad news for Joe Biden: Donald Trump is not, as Biden said recently, an “aberration” from the bipartisan policymaking he remembers nostalgically in Washington. Biden’s “Republican friends,” and even many of his fellow Democrats, are not waiting eagerly for the kind of collegial dealmaking he says he will bring to Washington. Rather both politics and policy have shifted dramatically from a model of deliberation to one in which war is the new normal.

Interviews

Politics As War: A Conversation With David Davenport

by David Davenportvia Law and Liberty
Thursday, May 16, 2019

Hoover Institution fellow David Davenport, coauthor with Gordon Lloyd of How Public Policy Became War, discusses how we lost “the cool, deliberate sense of the community” in making public policy and instead turned to the metaphor of war as the basis for political action.

How Public Policy Became War

by David Davenport, Gordon Lloydvia Books by Hoover Fellows
Tuesday, May 7, 2019

As a response to the Great Depression and an expression of executive power, President Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal is widely understood as a turning point in American history. In How Public Policy Became War, David Davenport and Gordon Lloyd go even further, calling the New Deal “America’s French Revolution,” refashioning American government and public policy in ways that have grown to epic proportions today.

Analysis and Commentary

California Chips Away At Individual Freedom

by David Davenportvia Townhall
Tuesday, May 7, 2019

California has decided sodas are the new tobacco, with five bills introduced in the legislature to limit sales. If they pass, you won’t be able to buy sodas larger than 16 ounces, you won’t find them in check-out lines, and there will be extra fees. New York introduced a bill banning large sodas and it was blocked by a judge. While it was in effect the data showed people actually bought more sodas. And there are very different interpretations of the effects of a soda tax.

Analysis and Commentary

How Joe Biden Helped Public Policy Become War

by David Davenportvia The Washington Examiner
Tuesday, May 7, 2019

When I share with people that Gordon Lloyd and I have published a new book, How Public Policy Became War, they invariably nod and comment on the timeliness of the topic. Of course, they are thinking of the partisan war-like environment in Washington in which very little is done, and that is part of the story. As former Vice President Joe Biden is learning in his presidential campaign, however, the root of the problem is longer and deeper than today’s hyper-partisanship.

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The Rise Of The War Metaphor In Public Policy

by David Davenport, Gordon Lloydvia Defining Ideas
Monday, May 6, 2019

An excerpt from a new book, published by the Hoover Press.

Featured

The International Criminal Court Crashes And Burns Over Afghanistan

by David Davenportvia The Washington Examiner
Wednesday, April 17, 2019

In a classic 1970s television commercial, a greasy mechanic rolled out from under a car holding a $200 bearing that needed replacing and a $4 oil filter that would have prevented the problem if installed earlier. The mechanic delivered a prophetic line: “You can pay me now, or you can pay me later.”

 
Featured

Congress Forgot Investigations Should Be Connected To Legislation

by David Davenportvia The Washington Examiner
Monday, April 15, 2019

It’s not only in sports that “you can’t tell the players without a scorecard.” The huge number of Trump investigations, proposed and actual, would require a spreadsheet. The Justice Department and the New York Attorney General have many entries on that scorecard, but so does Congress. Congress still has several investigations going about Russia, White House security clearances, Trump’s tax returns and, oh wait, there is also Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., investigating Trump investigations.

Analysis and Commentary

David Davenport: Campus Politics Are More Dangerous Than Bribes

by David Davenportvia Townhall Review
Thursday, April 11, 2019

Parents paying to get their children into elite colleges has shocked the nation. Meanwhile, a more prevalent and more insidious problem—campus politics and intolerance—goes unnoticed.

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The Civic Education Crisis

by David Davenportvia Defining Ideas
Friday, April 5, 2019

What should we do and how?

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