Ralph K. Winter Jr. RIP
By David Henderson
Catching up on Wall Street Journals from December today, I came across an obit of federal judge Ralph K. Winter. I never met the man although I gather that a number of my friends have. But it’s amazing how one quote can stick out in your memory from over 40 years ago. I remembered that quote and found the publication it was in.
Winter wrote “Campaign Financing and Political Freedom” for the American Enterprise Institute in October 1973. I think I was on the mailing list for their domestic policy publications. (I think my marked up copy disappeared in my fire.) One reason those pubs were really good is that Yale Brozen, an economics professor at the University of Chicago, had a real academic entrepreneurial eye for a good study and had a large role in choosing authors and topics. (Incidentally it was written with John R. Bolton, who became famous for his hawkish foreign policy views.)
I remembered that Winter had made a strong cogent case against the campaign finance laws that were about to happen and I found it persuasive.
Here’s the part I remembered clearly and still love:
Candidates seem never to lose because the public is indifferent to them or to their platforms; they seem to lose because they cannot raise enough money. Tom Wicker tells us that Fred Harris and Paul McC!oskey saw their campaigns founder “for want of means to wage a primary campaign,”” a statement that is true in the same sense that if a mayoral candidate in New York City were exposed as Martin Bormann, his withdrawal statement would mention only difficulties in raising campaign funds.