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

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...

Analysis and Commentary

'08 marks first open election in 80 Years

by David Davenport with Herbert Hoovervia San Diego Union-Tribune
Sunday, February 3, 2008

Secretary of Commerce Herbert C. Hoover was the GOP's choice for the presidential campaign in 1928...

Back to the Town Hall

by David Davenportvia Hoover Digest
Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Why conservatives should embrace deliberative democracy. By David Davenport.

In the News

Faith and the Presidential Campaign

by David Davenportvia Townhall
Wednesday, January 9, 2008

The Republican field of presidential candidates and the discussion of religion remind us of the variety of ways Christians might approach political leadership...

Analysis and Commentary

Our democratic republic needs fresh sources of energy

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

We think hybrid vehicles are new but, in fact, the American founders built one more than 200 years ago: our democratic republic...