US News and World Report‘s Andrew Soergel reports that “With White House in Sight, Trump, Clinton Plan Fed Renovations: No matter who wins the election, times are likely changing at America’s central bank.”
“The Fed” really is a synecdoche for monetary policy. Monetary policy used to be, off and on, a significant factor of presidential campaigns. In this election cycle, the monetary policy issue has only arisen occasionally and has not become a major issue of contention.
Pity. It really deserves to be front and center.
What is widely regarded as the most striking speech in presidential campaign history was William Jennings Bryan’s 1896 convention speech concluding:
If they dare to come out in the open field and defend the gold standard as a good thing, we shall fight them to the uttermost, having behind us the producing masses of the nation and the world. Having behind us the commercial interests and the laboring interests and all the toiling masses, we shall answer their demands for a gold standard by saying to them, you shall not press down upon the brow of labor this crown of thorns. You shall not crucify mankind upon a cross of gold.
Read the full speech here. It electrified the Democratic convention and propelled the young Bryan to the 1896 Democratic presidential nomination and two more. He lost all three times — including in 1896.
As economic historian Brian Domitrovic observed, at Forbes.com:
In 1896, Bryan opposed the gold standard because it had coincided with the 1-2% per year deflation that the country had been experiencing since the 1870s.