David Davenport

Research Fellow

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

Analysis and CommentaryPolitics

Democrats Have A 'Go Big Or Go Home' Problem

by David Davenportvia The Washington Examiner
Thursday, February 6, 2020

The fact that Democrats could not even deliver timely results of their own Iowa caucuses underscores their larger problem. They have become the party of big, structural changes led by government in a time when people lack confidence and trust in big government.

Analysis and CommentaryPolitics

The New York Times Endorsements Are Ridiculously Out Of Touch

by David Davenportvia The Washington Examiner
Tuesday, January 21, 2020

When I saw the New York Times recently ran an editorial endorsing a presidential candidate 10 months before the election and prior to any primary or convention, I could only think of the classic song Mr. Big Stuff.

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Founders and Foundations

by David Davenport, Gordon Lloydvia Hoover Digest
Monday, January 20, 2020

How to restore the teaching of US history to its rightful place.


What Comes After Trump, Disruptor In Chief?

by David Davenportvia The Washington Examiner
Thursday, January 9, 2020

There is one view of President Trump on which you can find widespread agreement: He is the disruptor in chief. He disrupted the Republican Party to win the nomination, and, since his election, he has disrupted the conventional wisdom about everything from tariffs and free trade to international organizations and what he calls “endless wars.” 


In 2019, There's Still No Room At The Inn For Christmas

by David Davenport mentioning Morris P. Fiorinavia The Washington Examiner
Wednesday, December 25, 2019

In the Biblical story, the first Christmas occurred in a stable because there was no room at the inn for Joseph and Mary. Sadly, in many quarters, there is still no room at the inn for Christ and Christmas as elites seek to cleanse the public square of anything religious.

Analysis and Commentary

David Davenport: Finding Room At The Inn For Christ

by David Davenportvia Townhall Review
Wednesday, December 18, 2019

You may recall that when Mary gave birth to Jesus, there was no room at the inn. Sadly, we are still fighting today over whether there is room for Christ in the public square.

Analysis and CommentaryEconomy

The Do-Nothing Congress Prefers Theatrics Over Doing Its Job

by David Davenportvia The Washington Examiner
Friday, December 6, 2019

Stop everything, Game of Thrones is on. That phrase from households turning to the most popular television show of the year now applies to Congress as well.


David Davenport: Beware The Regulator

by David Davenportvia Townhall Review
Monday, November 25, 2019

Many see Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren as two peas in the liberal Democratic pod but they are actually quite different. Bernie Sanders is a revolutionary who wants to change what he calls the rigged American system. He comes from a European political tradition, socialism, and seeks to turn the economic order upside down.

Analysis and Commentary

David Davenport: Impeachment Is An Extraordinary Remedy

by David Davenportvia Townhall Review
Wednesday, November 20, 2019

In the first 175 years of the nation, the House of Representatives impeached only one president, Andrew Johnson. Now in the last 57 years, it’s impeached two, Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton, and it may be ready to impeach a third.


Who's Afraid Of The Federal Debt?

by David Davenportvia The Washington Examiner
Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Congratulations, Washington, you have set another record. The Treasury Department announced recently that the federal deficit rose an astounding 26% during the last fiscal year, bringing the total one-year deficit to nearly $1 trillion. The cumulative federal debt is now more than $22 trillion, greater than our total gross domestic product for the year. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell has declared the debt situation “unsustainable.”