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

John Bolton Is Right To Call Out The International Criminal Court's Political Agenda

by David Davenportvia Washington Examiner
Tuesday, September 11, 2018

National security adviser John Bolton stirred the international waters this week by calling out the International Criminal Court for what it is and has always been — a political institution with an agenda, clothed in the finery of judicial robes. 

Featured

Don't Hold Your Breath Waiting For The Socialist Sweep In 2018

by David Davenportvia Washington Examiner
Wednesday, August 29, 2018

It’s election season, and madness is in the air. Besides the usual questions in a midterm election — who will carry the House and Senate, and how many seats will the incumbent president lose — the word socialism, rarely heard in American politics, is out in the open. A few candidates are actually running for office under the socialism banner. But what does that mean for the 2018 elections and beyond?

Analysis and Commentary

The Wars On Our Domestic Woes

by David Davenportvia Townhall
Thursday, August 23, 2018

Perhaps you missed the memo from the President’s Council of Economic Advisers. The War on Poverty, declared by President Lyndon Johnson in 1964, is largely over, they say, and we won. Amazing, since a lot of people obviously still live in poverty.

Analysis and Commentary

Back To School Needs Back To Civic Education

by David Davenportvia Townhall
Wednesday, August 15, 2018

As America’s students go back to school this month, America’s schools need to go back to civic education. Our schools are awash in political concerns—from guns to immigration to bathrooms even—but it’s not clear that students have a good understanding of politics, history and civics.

Featured

California Is Using Lawsuits To Impose Blue-State Values On The Rest Of The Country

by David Davenportvia Washington Examiner
Tuesday, August 7, 2018

It's not fake news that California is joining 19 other states to sue the Trump administration over auto emission standards. But it’s not surprising news either, since this is now the 39th lawsuit California has brought against the federal government during Donald Trump’s 1.5-year presidency. 

Analysis and Commentary

Is Democratic Socialism For Real In America?

by David Davenportvia Townhall
Tuesday, July 24, 2018

One story from the 2018 primary elections is the win of candidates in Pennsylvania and New York running as democratic socialists. In the wake of a 2016 poll showing that 43 percent of millennials view socialism favorably, this has led pundits to wonder whether democratic socialism is a viable movement in America.

Featured

Foolhardy Presidents Keep Declaring 'War' On Problems They Can't Solve

by David Davenportvia Washington Examiner
Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Perhaps you did not get the memo from the president’s Council of Economic Advisers earlier this month: The War on Poverty is over, and we won. To be more precise, the CEA report said, “Based on historical standards of material wellbeing and the terms of engagement, our War on Poverty is largely over and a success.” Consequently, increased work requirements for those receiving aid would now be appropriate, according to the council.

Analysis and Commentary

Judges Should Respect The Constitution More Than Precedent

by David Davenportvia Townhall
Monday, July 16, 2018

Below the surface of Senate hearings on whether Judge Brett Kavanaugh should be confirmed to the Supreme Court is a tug of war that should be brought to light. It is a battle between a judge’s commitment to follow judicial precedents versus faithfulness to the Constitution itself.

Featured

Millennials Say 'Democratic Socialism,' But What They Want Is Free Stuff

by David Davenportvia Washington Examiner
Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Surprise primary victories by "democratic socialists" in New York and Pennsylvania have created a buzz about millennials and socialism. Bernie Sanders was the prophet of this movement, attracting strong support among young people for his ideas about democratic socialism in the 2016 presidential campaign. 

Featured

Making Congress Great Again And The 2018 Elections

by David Davenport, Gordon Lloydvia Townhall
Wednesday, June 27, 2018

The labels used to describe it sadly diminish the 2018 election: “Mid-term” or “off-year” or “non-presidential.” Even though nothing less than the membership and direction of the United States Congress is at stake, such elections receive limited respect and even lower voter turnout (around 40% compared with approximately 60% when there is a presidential race). What’s more, even though the president is not on the ballot, these elections are nevertheless very much a referendum on the president’s performance and popularity.

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