David Davenport

Research Fellow

David Davenport is a research fellow at the Hoover Institution and a senior fellow at the Ashbrook Center. He specializes in constitutional federalism, civic education, modern American conservatism, and international 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.

He is a regular columnist for the Washington Examiner and his study, "Commonsense Solutions To Our Civics Crisis," was published by the Orrin G. Hatch Foundation in 2020.

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 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


The Crisis Of Civic Education: What Can We Do? With David Davenport

interview with David Davenportvia Ricochet
Wednesday, May 4, 2022

Hoover Institution fellow David Davenport talks about the crisis in civic education and what we can do about it.

Analysis and Commentary

Conservatives Must Grow Their Tent

by David Davenportvia The Washington Examiner
Sunday, December 19, 2021

Conservatives have a shrinking tent problem. Rather than growing their movement with addition, or even multiplication, they seem determined to shrink it by division and subtraction. If they want to be relevant, they will need to relearn important lessons from William F. Buckley in the 1960s and President Ronald Reagan in the 1980s and figure out how to build a bigger tent.


A Common Sense Solution To Our Civics Crisis

by David Davenportvia PolicyEd
Tuesday, December 14, 2021

Improving civic education will help students develop better judgment so that they can discern good ideas from bad ones.


Bob Dole’s Lessons For Washington From The Plains

by David Davenportvia The Washington Examiner
Friday, December 10, 2021

As former Sen. Bob Dole is laid to rest on Friday, let us not lay to rest important lessons we should draw from his life and leadership. Many of these are lessons I learned growing up, as he did, in the plains state of Kansas. But they are also things I observed working as an intern in his Senate office and keeping up with him over the years.


David Davenport On The John Batchelor Show

interview with David Davenportvia The John Batchelor Show
Tuesday, December 7, 2021

Hoover Institution fellow David Davenport talks about Bob Dole's amazing and heroic life.


Congress Finally Seeks To Limit Presidential War And Emergency Powers

by David Davenportvia The Washington Examiner
Friday, November 19, 2021

Amid bills to forestall a government shutdown or default, plus trillions for infrastructure and social programs, you would be excused if you overlooked an important amendment put before Congress this week. Three senators from different parties introduced an amendment to the National Security Powers Act to trim a president’s power to declare wars and national emergencies.


Dads On Duty In Louisiana Show Rugged Individualism Still Works

by David Davenportvia The Washington Examiner
Thursday, October 28, 2021

When there’s violence in your school, who you gonna call? If it’s bad enough, as it was at Southwood High School in Shreveport, Louisiana, you call the police.

Analysis and Commentary

Biden’s Big Government Window Has Closed

by David Davenportvia The Washington Examiner
Wednesday, October 20, 2021

President Joe Biden’s mantra has been "go big or go home." Biden has proposed spending trillions of dollars on COVID relief, infrastructure, and new social programs. On the heels of the pandemic, it appeared that Biden and his fellow Democrats had a window of opportunity to dramatically expand the size and role of the federal government. They saw a chance to cut a 21st century New Deal.

Analysis and Commentary

Civics Education Offers A Map To Escape Our Partisan Maze

by David Davenportvia The Washington Examiner
Tuesday, October 5, 2021

Congress is struggling to raise the debt ceiling to pay for money that has already been spent. Despite a lack of evidence to support claims of election rigging, there are still heated arguments over the last presidential election. Red wars against blue, Republicans against Democrats, Democratic progressives against party moderates, and Republican Trumpists against traditional conservatives.


Joe Biden Wants A New Deal

by David Davenportvia The Washington Examiner
Friday, September 24, 2021

President Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal was launched nearly 90 years ago, but it is the government model that we live under today. The New Deal dramatically expanded the size and the role of the federal government.