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

Analysis and Commentary

Previewing Trump’s First State Of The Union Speech

by David Davenportvia Townhall
Sunday, January 21, 2018

A president’s first state of the union message is an important occasion. But in our era of political theater, there is some danger that this year the sideshow will be overshadow the main attraction. Several Democratic members of Congress say they will boycott the event.

Analysis and Commentary

A Cancer Growing On Congress

by David Davenportvia Townhall Review
Wednesday, January 10, 2018

There is a cancer growing on Congress. It is the curse of party-line voting. The biggest legislation of the Trump administration is the tax bill, passed with only Republican votes. And the biggest of the Obama administration: Obamacare, again passed on a party-line vote with only Democrats.

Featured

What Kind Of Country Wants Oprah Versus The Donald For President?

by David Davenportvia Forbes
Tuesday, January 9, 2018

What kind of country have we become that we like billionaire media stars with no political or government experience running for president? Citizens have responsibilities in the electoral process and we need to quit voting to make statements and start paying attention to policy and governing.

Featured

The Tax Bill Needs Follow-On Spending Cuts

by David Davenportvia Townhall
Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Although a tax cut may have been a nice Christmas gift, it needs some follow-on spending cuts to work. At best, Republicans have eaten their dessert first, waiting to eat their spending cut vegetables later; at worst, they will have increased the federal deficit by another trillion dollars or more.

Analysis and Commentary

Jerry Brown’s Blue Christmas

by David Davenportvia Townhall
Thursday, December 28, 2017

California governor Jerry Brown has been everywhere, preaching the gospel of blue-state California. California wildfires are the curse of climate change, he told 60 Minutes, while he whisks off to yet another climate conference in Paris, warning that the world is on the road to hell.

Featured

Jerry Brown Is Dreaming Of A Blue Christmas

by David Davenportvia Forbes
Wednesday, December 20, 2017

While traditionalists dream of a white, snowy Christmas, California governor Jerry Brown dreams of a blue one: a blue state, with a blue governor, aggressively pursuing blue-state policies.

Featured

A Growing Cancer On Congress: The Curse Of Party-Line Voting

by David Davenportvia Forbes
Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Party-line voting in Congress has increased dramatically in the last 40 years and threatens both the deliberative process and the quality of public policy legislation.

Featured

Potomac Fever Epidemic Seizes Republican Leaders Over Federal Spending And Debt

by David Davenportvia Forbes
Wednesday, November 29, 2017

A funny thing happened to Republicans on their way to controlling both houses of Congress and the White House: They can’t remember what they believe in, especially about federal spending and debt. Perhaps it’s a case of early onset Alzheimer’s, unable to recall what got you there or what your core principles are, but more likely it’s a bad case of Potomac Fever as power and politics overtake principle.

Analysis and Commentary

David Davenport: Free Speech On The Decline

by David Davenportvia Townhall Review
Tuesday, November 28, 2017

One reason to be concerned about the future of America is the reduced commitment of its young people to freedom, starting with free speech.

Analysis and Commentary

We’re Number 45

by David Davenportvia Townhall
Wednesday, November 15, 2017

For nearly 50 years now, Freedom House has published its annual survey of the freest countries in the world. This year’s report contains some troubling news. First, with an increase in authoritarian regimes and populism, overall freedom in the world declined in the past year.

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