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Back to School Needs Back to Civic Education (National radio commentary, Salem/Townhall) August 15, 2018

Posted by daviddavenport in Op/Eds, Radio Commentaries.
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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.

 

In the last round of national testing, a pitiful 18% were found proficient in history, 23% in government.  And these are the future leaders of our republic.

 

With the emphasis on math and science, and pervasive political correctness, schools are not teaching basic civics.  Both instructional time and testing of government and history are down.

 

A few states are beginning to act, adding civic education course requirements and testing.  But more must be done.  Preparing students to become good citizens and voters is more important than ever.  And that requires a major commitment to civic education.

http://www.townhallreview.com

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Is Democratic Socialism for Real in America? (National radio commentary, Salem/Townhall) July 25, 2018

Posted by daviddavenport in Radio Commentaries.
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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.

In short, the answer is no.

Young people are not interested in true socialism, which is the state owning the means of production and distribution.

What millennials favor is a larger welfare state. In fact, when Bernie Sanders ran for president and Denmark became a hot topic, their prime minister felt the need to clarify that it was not a socialist country, but instead an extensive welfare state.

I don’t know which is more discouraging, that young people think they are in favor of socialism or the fact that they don’t know what socialism is.

http://www.townhallreview.com

Judges Should Respect the Constitution More than Precedent (National Radio Commentary, Salem/Townhall) July 17, 2018

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Below the surface of Senate hearings on whether Judge Brett Kavanaugh should be confirmed to the Supreme Court is a tug of war that should be brought to light.  It is a battle between a judge’s commitment to follow judicial precedents versus faithfulness to the Constitution itself.

Federal courts tack right and left, as Republican and Democratic presidents appoint their judges.  More liberal judges increase federal power and conservative judges restrain it.  But when liberal courts take the law to the left, they set precedents that conservative judges feel obligated to follow, even when the decisions were not constitutionally sound.

There is value in precedent—without it the legal system would become unpredictable and unstable. But more important is following the Constitution itself. We need judges who will do both. But we don’t want slaves to precedent—whether or not that precedent is faithful to the Constitution.

2018-07-16

National Lessons from California Election Reform (National Radio Commentary, Salem/Townhall) June 24, 2018

Posted by daviddavenport in Politics, Radio Commentaries.
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This is David Davenport of the Hoover Institution for Townhall.com.

California lives on the edge of change. A few years ago, the Golden State adopted two big changes to its elections:  Open primaries in which voters choose candidates from any party, and a top-two primary where the top two finishers qualify for the general election, regardless of party. The idea was to elect more moderate candidates.

The results are coming in and it isn’t working. The 2018 primaries shows that Republicans still want to vote for Republicans and Democrats for Democrats. People don’t cross party lines looking for an idealized moderate candidate.

Plus: The unintended consequence is often no real choice in a general election. In 2016, two liberal Democrats ran for the Senate and in many state legislative races, there are either two Democrats or two Republicans.

Worse, candidates have gamed the system to face a weaker opponent later.

Beware election reforms from California.

I’m David Davenport.

A Dismal National Report Card (National radio commentary, Salem/Townhall) May 10, 2018

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The US Department of Education recently released national test scores for American 4th and 8th grade students in math and reading. They call it the “Nation’s Report Card.” I call it a dismal failure, no better than a D.

Only about a third of American 8th graders scored as proficient in reading and math, along with around 40% of fourth graders. And despite massive expenditures and countless reform efforts, there was essentially no improvement over the scores reported in the last tests 4 years ago. It’s been almost a decade since there was significant growth in the scores.

The new Secretary of Education is advocating more parental choice through charter schools and vouchers. In the face of these results, it would be hard to argue that it isn’t time to try something new. As Albert Einstein said, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.”

http://www.townhallreview.com

The Senate is Broken (National radio commentary, Salem/Townhall) April 26, 2018

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Former President James Buchanan called the United States Senate “the greatest deliberative body in the world.”  But Sen. John Kennedy of Louisiana, recently complained that he hasn’t even been able to get a vote on a single legislative amendment in his first 15 months on the job.

The fact is that the U.S. Senate has largely quit deliberating.  The Senate has voted on only 6 non-budgetary amendments so far this year and has taken only 25 roll call votes in the two-year Congress, compared with 154 at this point in the last Congress.

Bills are held in secret until 51 votes are lined up and then sprung on the Senate.  Largely gone are the committee deliberations, debates and amendments.

Votes are taken largely to make statements for the next election, not to make great public policy.  It’s high time Congress returned to “regular order.”

http://www.townhallreview.com

The Coming War in Data Privacy is from Europe, Not Washington (National radio commentary, Salem/Townhall) April 17, 2018

Posted by daviddavenport in Radio Commentaries.
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While Mark Zuckerberg has been busy defending Facebook over data collection and privacy, a much more ominous threat is quietly coming from Europe. The European Union is implementing tough new standards on data privacy with stiff fines for violators. What many don’t realize is that these rules do not apply only to European companies, but to anyone who has data from Europeans.

For example, American universities enroll students from abroad and they will now be subject to this law.  Complying will cost millions and those who violate the new law could be subject to fines up to $23 million dollars.

Europe’s view is that the individual controls his or her data, not companies that collect it.  With an amazing overreach around the world, this now becomes a new global standard.  On top of trade wars, brace yourself for a new—and costly—cold war over privacy and data.

http://www.townhallreview.com

Questions About Walls (National radio commentary, Salem/Townhall) April 11, 2018

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President Trump loves walls—besides a border wall with Mexico, he wants to erect trade walls to protect American steel and aluminum with tariffs of 25 and 10 percent, respectively.

In his famous poem about walls, Robert Frost said, “Something there is that doesn’t love a wall,” adding that before he built one, “I’d ask to know what I was walling in or walling out, and to whom I was likely to give offence.” Those are good questions for Mr. Trump’s policy.

He wants to wall out foreign products that are cheaper than American products. But this will trouble not only nations that produce them, but also American consumers who like to save money.

There’s also a question of constitutionality, since the president’s power to do this is based on national security. And the biggest question:  will tariff walls even work in a global economy?

Many important questions about walls.

http://www.townhallreview.com

 

Will the U.S. Be Prosecuted in the International Criminal Court? (National radio commentary, Salem/Townhall) April 4, 2018

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As if President Trump did not face enough legal challenges, there are now two threatened prosecutions of Americans at the International Criminal Court.

First, the Palestinian territories have filed a complaint against both President Trump and Prime Minister Netanyahu over relocating Israel’s capital to Jerusalem. While an important matter for Middle Eastern politics, it’s difficult to see how this could be a criminal matter for the court.

Second, the prosecutor is seeking authority to investigate whether the U.S. military is guilty of torture and other war crimes in Afghanistan. Although the U.S. is not a member of the court, Afghanistan, on whose territory the alleged crimes occurred, is.

If either of these moves ahead, it would be the first time the ICC has sought to prosecute Americans and would set up a major confrontation between the U.S. and the court.

http://www.townhallreview.com

Another Shot Fired in California’s Civil War (National radio commentary, Salem/Townhall) March 22, 2018

Posted by daviddavenport in Radio Commentaries.
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California is stepping closer to a civil war with the federal government over immigration. In the latest round, one day after President Trump visited the state to see prototypes of his border wall, the state senate appointed an illegal immigrant to serve on a state commission, a big step in California’s progressive history.

Lizbeth Mateo, an undocumented immigrant from Mexico, was appointed to the state’s Student Opportunity and Access Program Project Advisory Committee.  Perhaps, as a lawyer who advocates for immigration rights, she would have a perspective to share as a witness before a state commission, but as a member? There’s no legal basis for that and it is a further effort by California to tweak the Trump administration.

Unfortunately, the rule of law is rarely raised anymore in debates about immigration policy. Tweaking Trump is just a bad approach to public policy.

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