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

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.

Featured

Election 'Reforms' Are Usually One Party Trying To Rig The System

by David Davenportvia Washington Examiner
Friday, June 22, 2018

The election games have begun. Not just the obvious jockeying that takes place in the primaries and the general election. No, look below the radar at the several so-called reforms and improvements in the rules of voting and how elections are carried out. That sort of political gamesmanship, like June, is bustin’ out all over.

Analysis and Commentary

David Davenport: National Lessons From California Election Reform

by David Davenportvia Townhall Review
Friday, June 22, 2018
California lives on the edge of change. A few years ago, the Golden State adopted two big changes to its elections: Open primaries in which voters choose candidates from any party, and a top-two primary where the top two finishers qualify for the general election, regardless of party. The idea was to elect more moderate candidates.
Analysis and Commentary

This University's Problems Are A Microcosm Of Washington DC's

by David Davenportvia Washington Examiner
Thursday, May 31, 2018
One of the nation's most successful university presidents, C.L. Max Nikias of the University of Southern California, recently shocked the Trojan community with his abrupt resignation. Although Nikias had been highly successful in raising money and, with it, USC's profile and reputation, he had also presided over the university's mishandling of scandals and crises.
Featured

Connecticut Joins The Quiet Campaign To Undermine Constitutional Presidential Elections

by David Davenportvia Washington Examiner
Monday, May 21, 2018

Both houses of the Connecticut legislature recently passed the National Popular Vote Bill, which now sits on the desk of Gov. Dannel Malloy, who is expected to sign it. With his approval, Connecticut will join a quiet campaign to undo the Electoral College by means of a clever end run rather than a proper constitutional amendment.

Analysis and Commentary

David Davenport: A Dismal National ‘‘Report Card’’

by David Davenportvia Townhall Review
Thursday, May 10, 2018

The US Department of Education recently released national test scores for American 4th and 8th grade students in math and reading. They call it the “Nation’s Report Card.” I call it a dismal failure, no better than a D.

Analysis and Commentary

Don't Let 16-Year-Olds Rock The Vote

by David Davenportvia Washington Examiner
Thursday, May 3, 2018

Since the “March for Our Lives” student demonstrations over gun violence on school campuses, the question of lowering the voting age to 16 has come to the fore. The Washington city council is now considering a proposal to do just that, and similar bills have recently been introduced in Georgia and Minnesota.

Analysis and Commentary

David Davenport: The Senate Is Broken

by David Davenportvia Townhall Review
Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Former President James Buchanan called the United States Senate “the greatest deliberative body in the world.”  But Sen. John Kennedy of Louisiana, recently complained that he hasn’t even been able to get a vote on a single legislative amendment in his first 15 months on the job.

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