Perhaps the most unexpected — and, inarguably, the strangest — development in the crafting of the Republican Party platform this week has been the call for reinstatement of the Glass-Steagall Banking Act of 1933.
Meeting at the Huntington Convention Center in Cleveland, Ohio on Monday, the Government Reform Subcommittee of the GOP Platform Committee voted to include in the party platform restoration of Glass-Steagall — landmark legislation that sepatrated risky trading and investment from traditional banking activities such as business lending and consumer finance after it was passed in 1933.
A product of Franklin D. Roosevelt's "New Deal" agenda, Glass-Steagall was scrapped in 1999 after the Republican-controlled Congress voted for its repeal and Democratic President Bill Clinton signed it.
Two top operatives from Donald Trump's campaign were on the scene at the subcommittee meeting as all but one of its members voted "aye" on including revival of Glass-Steagall in the party platform.
But Glass-Steagall has returned in the 2016 campaign thanks to a politician who would be most unwelcome at the Republican proceedings in Cleveland: Bernie Sanders, who called for putting the regulatory measure back on the books and included its revival in nearly all of his primary night speeches.
"The business model of Wall Street is a fraud," Sanders declared in a November 2015 televised debate in which he charged that the Glass-Steagall's removal from the books was a major cause of the 2008 financial crisis.
Hillary Clinton argued against revival of the legislation and earlier told the "Des Moines Register" that "a lot of what caused the risk that led to the collapse came from institutions that were not big banks."
As to how and why Sanders' much-favored Glass-Steagall found its way into the Republican Platform, I spoke to the driving force behind it within the GOP. John Lynch, Platform Committee member from Illinois and past president of the First Midwest Bank in Chicago, recalled that "Glass-Steagall was always the wall that kept consumer banking away from big risks. Bill Clinton broke down that wall when he signed its repeal in 1999."
The repeal, Lynch believes, "exposed consumer banking to higher risks as some people sought to make as much money as they could."
Lynch, who was in the banking industry for nearly 50 years, is a lifelong Republican and strong Donald Trump supporter.
John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax.
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