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

The U.S. Is Right To Oppose An ICC Investigation In Afghanistan

by David Davenportvia Townhall
Monday, October 1, 2018

National security advisor John Bolton caused a stir by announcing that the U.S. would actively oppose an investigation by the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court into criminal acts by Americans in Afghanistan. Bolton said sanctions against members of the Court might be applied.

Analysis and Commentary

Kids Don't Know Enough About Civics — But This Could Save Them

by David Davenportvia Washington Examiner
Thursday, September 20, 2018

An important life was cut short this week in Ashland, Ohio, when 44-year-old Roger Beckett passed away. As executive director of the Ashbrook Center, Roger’s noble goal was nothing less than saving the republic by strengthening America’s anemic approach to civic education. The tool he chose to do this was both surprising and powerful: training and retraining teachers of history and civics to teach using primary documents.

Analysis and Commentary

John Bolton Is Right To Call Out The International Criminal Court's Political Agenda

by David Davenportvia Washington Examiner
Tuesday, September 11, 2018

National security adviser John Bolton stirred the international waters this week by calling out the International Criminal Court for what it is and has always been — a political institution with an agenda, clothed in the finery of judicial robes. 

Analysis and Commentary

Should The Voting Age Be Lowered?

by David Davenportvia The New York Times Upfront
Monday, September 3, 2018

Following the student protests against gun violence in school has come a renewed call to allow 16- and 17-year-olds to vote. But it would be a mistake to lower the voting age. Demonstrating is not the same as voting, which requires a higher level of civic responsibility and knowledge.

Featured

Don't Hold Your Breath Waiting For The Socialist Sweep In 2018

by David Davenportvia Washington Examiner
Wednesday, August 29, 2018

It’s election season, and madness is in the air. Besides the usual questions in a midterm election — who will carry the House and Senate, and how many seats will the incumbent president lose — the word socialism, rarely heard in American politics, is out in the open. A few candidates are actually running for office under the socialism banner. But what does that mean for the 2018 elections and beyond?

Analysis and Commentary

The Wars On Our Domestic Woes

by David Davenportvia Townhall
Thursday, August 23, 2018

Perhaps you missed the memo from the President’s Council of Economic Advisers. The War on Poverty, declared by President Lyndon Johnson in 1964, is largely over, they say, and we won. Amazing, since a lot of people obviously still live in poverty.

Analysis and Commentary

Back To School Needs Back To Civic Education

by David Davenportvia Townhall
Wednesday, August 15, 2018

As America’s students go back to school this month, America’s schools need to go back to civic education. Our schools are awash in political concerns—from guns to immigration to bathrooms even—but it’s not clear that students have a good understanding of politics, history and civics.

Featured

California Is Using Lawsuits To Impose Blue-State Values On The Rest Of The Country

by David Davenportvia Washington Examiner
Tuesday, August 7, 2018

It's not fake news that California is joining 19 other states to sue the Trump administration over auto emission standards. But it’s not surprising news either, since this is now the 39th lawsuit California has brought against the federal government during Donald Trump’s 1.5-year presidency. 

Analysis and Commentary

Is Democratic Socialism For Real In America?

by David Davenportvia Townhall
Tuesday, July 24, 2018

One story from the 2018 primary elections is the win of candidates in Pennsylvania and New York running as democratic socialists. In the wake of a 2016 poll showing that 43 percent of millennials view socialism favorably, this has led pundits to wonder whether democratic socialism is a viable movement in America.

Featured

Foolhardy Presidents Keep Declaring 'War' On Problems They Can't Solve

by David Davenportvia Washington Examiner
Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Perhaps you did not get the memo from the president’s Council of Economic Advisers earlier this month: The War on Poverty is over, and we won. To be more precise, the CEA report said, “Based on historical standards of material wellbeing and the terms of engagement, our War on Poverty is largely over and a success.” Consequently, increased work requirements for those receiving aid would now be appropriate, according to the council.

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