David Davenport

Research Fellow

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

In the News

Straight Talk Express Meets the Great Conversationalist

by David Davenportvia townhall.com
Monday, August 18, 2008

When President Bill Clinton played his saxophone on the late-night “Arsenio Hall Show” in 1992, it was obvious that presidential campaigns had changed...

In the News

Davenport: Showdown with Iran Awaits Next President

by David Davenportvia townhall.com
Tuesday, August 12, 2008

The news out of Iran lately couldn't be clearer--they are actively developing nuclear capabilities and playing a deadly game to delay any serious attempt to stop them...

Analysis and Commentary


by David Davenportvia San Francisco Chronicle
Sunday, July 6, 2008

One program many thought would not outlive the Bush presidency is his faith-based initiative...

In the News


by David Davenportvia San Francisco Chronicle
Friday, July 4, 2008

Like the 4th of July, the Electoral College is distinctively American...

In the News

Davenport: Obama: The Tax Man Cometh

by David Davenportvia townhall.com
Thursday, June 26, 2008

For months, Senator Obama has said he was the candidate of change, without ever explaining what that meant...

In the News

Davenport: The Government Gets One Right

by David Davenportvia Townhall
Thursday, April 10, 2008

Every once in awhile, the federal government actually gets one right, as President Bush did when his first two executive orders, 7 years ago, created the faith-based initiatives program...

In the News

Don't Count McCain Out

by David Davenportvia townhall.com
Wednesday, March 26, 2008

This was supposed to be the Democrats' year....

In the News

Obama Floats

by David Davenportvia PBS
Wednesday, March 19, 2008

I have said elsewhere that Barack Obama is the Muhammad Ali of presidential politics...

In the News

Obama Floats Like a Butterfly

by David Davenportvia Townhall
Thursday, March 13, 2008

I recently realized that Barack Obama is the Muhammad Ali of presidential politics...

In the News

Three Senators for President

by David Davenportvia Townhall
Monday, February 18, 2008

Not since 1960--and only twice in our history--have we elected a sitting U.S. senator to serve as president...