David Davenport

Research Fellow
Biography: 

David Davenport is a research fellow at the Hoover Institution and a visiting scholar at the Orrin G. Hatch Foundation. 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.

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 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

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Featured CommentaryEureka

Proposition 18—Should Seventeen-Year-Olds Be Allowed To Vote?

by David Davenportvia Eureka
Tuesday, October 27, 2020

California’s Proposition 18 on this year’s ballot is like those television commercials that may be clever but where, in the end, you fail to see the point or even remember the product being advertised. It would amend the California constitution to allow seventeen-year-olds who would turn eighteen by the time of the next general election to vote in primaries or special elections.

Blank Section (Placeholder)Analysis and Commentary

Commonsense Solutions To Our Civics Crisis

by David Davenportvia Analysis
Friday, October 23, 2020

What a decade this year has been.

Featured

The Supreme Court's Nine Could Be Saved By A Stitch In Time

by David Davenportvia The Washington Examiner
Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Senators this week proposed a simple new constitutional amendment: “The Supreme Court of the United States shall be composed of nine justices.” The same amendment was introduced in the House of Representatives last month. This is a good idea that, unfortunately, looks to be a hard sell.

Analysis and Commentary

The Decline Of The Senate: From 'Advice And Consent' To 'Just Win, Baby!'

by David Davenportvia The Washington Examiner
Tuesday, September 22, 2020
The coming battle over a new Supreme Court nominee is only the latest chapter in the ongoing decline of the Senate. Once described by President James Buchanan as “the greatest deliberative body in the world,” the Senate now barely deliberates.
Policy InsightsFeaturedPolitics

The Electoral College

featuring John H. Cochrane, Morris P. Fiorina, David Davenport, Richard A. Epstein, Daniel Heilvia PolicyEd
Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Tis the season—the presidential election season that is. Election officials are busy printing ballots. Pollsters are making phone calls. And candidates, parties, and special interest groups are spending millions of dollars to convince you that one candidate is superior to the other.

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The Electoral College

by John H. Cochrane, Morris P. Fiorina, David Davenport, Richard A. Epstein, Daniel Heilvia Policy Insights | A Guide to Important Policy Questions
Monday, September 21, 2020

How does this uniquely American institution work? And does its existence still make sense in the modern world?

Featured

Individualism Fosters Virtue In Ways That Government Action Cannot

by David Davenportvia The Washington Examiner
Tuesday, September 15, 2020

While COVID-19 attacks our immune systems and our economy, it also gives rise to attacks on American individualism. If the pandemic is spreading here, many argue, rugged individualism is at fault. It keeps people from wearing masks, prevents them from helping each other, and is downright dangerous.

Analysis and Commentary

Some 16- And 17-Year-Olds Might Get Voting Rights After 2020 Elections

by David Davenportvia The Washington Examiner
Monday, September 14, 2020

Almost lost in election stories about voting by mail, possible election fraud, and drama surrounding the Electoral College is a small, but important, series of initiatives to allow 16- and 17-year-olds the right to vote. The question, in one form or another, is on the ballot in California and Colorado, as well as in some municipalities. 

Analysis and Commentary

Republicans Are Fighting The Wrong Political War

by David Davenportvia The Washington Examiner
Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Daniel Patrick Moynihan, a Harvard professor who served under presidents of both political parties, observed in the early 1980s that “Republicans are the party of ideas.” That’s now ancient history. Conducting a national party convention with no platform while nominating a sitting president with no announced agenda for a second term, the Republican Party is going to wing this one on the back of President Trump. Whatever he thinks or tweets on a given day is now what they stand for.

FeaturedPolitics

Republicans Are Fighting The Wrong Political War

by David Davenportvia The Washington Examiner
Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Daniel Patrick Moynihan, a Harvard professor who served under presidents of both political parties, observed in the early 1980s that “Republicans are the party of ideas.” That’s now ancient history.

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