Jim Banks–Hoosier Embarrassment

In November of 2024, Hoosiers will elect a U.S. Senator to fill a seat left open by the current occupant, who is running for Governor. The almost-certain GOP candidate will be current Congressperson and noted crackpot Jim Banks.

Lest you quibble with my “crackpot” designation, allow me to share a recent example, reported by Howey Political Report (paywall).

Indiana U.S. Reps. Jim Banks and Erin Houchin joined 68 fellow Republicans in voting to end U.S. military aid to Ukraine during debate on the FY23 National Defense Authorization Act.  They offered the following amendment (one of dozens offered by hard-Right Republicans): “Notwithstanding any provision of this or any other Act, no federal funds may be made available to provide security assistance to Ukraine.”

 It was defeated by a 358-70 margin, with all Democrats and a majority of Republicans (including U.S.Reps. Jim Baird, Larry Bucshon, Greg Pence, Victoria Spartz and Rudy Yakym) opposing the measure.

The misnamed Freedom Caucus believes that the United States should ignore Russia’s unprovoked invasion of another country and its subsequent commission of multiple war crimes. Why?

Well, according to Banks, we can’t afford it.

 “I don’t believe there was ever a parallel in American history where we’ve seen America decline as much as it has in two years with Joe Biden in the White House. So we’ve got to push the Biden administration to focus on our domestic weaknesses and the crisis in our own country before we grant billions and billions, $40 billion in this case to send to Ukraine. I looked through this bill and it was easy for me to vote against it. This bill gives every single person in Ukraine a ticket to come to the United States of America. That would be OK if we could afford it. To invite 44 million people to come here with no limits, we can’t afford it. Unlike Afghanistan, Ukraine is a wealthier country. We have to take that into account.”

Banks is one of the reliably hateful fringe that now controls  the grievance cult that used to be a political party. The fact that so demonstrably delusional a character represents an Indiana Congressional district is bad enough–allowing him to become a Senator would be immeasurably worse.

And as political strategists will affirm, if he becomes the incumbent –especially with an R next to his name in Red Indiana–he’ll be incredibly difficult to dislodge. 

One reason Republicans do well in Indiana is because Democrats have essentially thrown in the towel. They approach each race with the attitude: “what can we do? Indiana’s a lost cause.” But even in the most rural precincts of Indiana, I find it hard to believe that majorities of Hoosiers find Banks–a certified wing-nut and Trump lover who is pro-gun, anti-woman, and anti-LGBTQ–appealing.

A friend and I recently had lunch with Marc Carmichael, the former state legislator who  very recently decided to run for the Democratic nomination, after evaluating the political landscape. As he said, it’s rare in Indiana that Democrats face so promising a set of circumstances.

  • This is an open seat. Banks won’t have the advantages of incumbency.
  • It’s JimBanks–who is far, far to the Right of even very conservative Hoosiers.
  • Democrats are on the side of the majority of Hoosiers on the issues, especially  women’s rights and assault weapons.

Democrats have a candidate with political and legislative experience and the ability to run full-time. Carmichael has hit the ground running, and is in the process of putting together his website, social media strategy and fundraising plan.

What will defeat him–or another first-rate candidate, Jennifer McCormick, who is running for Governor– is the defeatist attitude of far too many progressive Hoosiers–an attitude that depresses both fundraising and turnout. 

If Carmichael raises enough money to get his message out, he can win.

 According to a Pew survey, 42% of Hoosiers are or lean Republican, 37% are or lean Democrat, and 20% report no lean. A poll (commissioned by Indiana Republicans!) found  63-percent of Hoosier voters are pro-choice. Another poll, this one from EveryTown for Gun Safety, found the overwhelming majority of Hoosiers support stronger gun laws: 56 percent of Hoosiers think gun laws should be made stronger, compared to just 8 percent who want weaker gun laws. (Support for individual gun safety laws was even higher.)

I wasn’t able to find polling on Hoosiers’ support for Ukraine, but I can’t imagine that many Indiana citizens think it’s “too expensive” to support a democratic ally–or who agree with TFG (and evidently Banks) that Vladimir Putin–currently trying to starve the world-– is a good guy.

Jim Banks is Indiana’s version of Margery Taylor Green. It’s bad enough that he continually embarrasses us in the House. We sure don’t need him in the Senate.


  1. Sadly, a Republican will be elected to the senate whoever she/he is. Indiana is a one party state.

  2. I recently saw Jim Banks ranting to a local TV reporter. I was horrified at what came out of his mouth. I did not hear anything true. Stunning. This guy MUST be defeated. MUST be.

  3. Indiana voter turnout in November 2024 is crucial. In addition to replacing Braun with someone other than Banks, voters have the opportunity to reverse the Indiana Supreme Court majority by voting NO on all three justices on the ballot for retention and electing Jennifer MCCormick as our governor. These are state-wide elections that cannot be gerrymandered.

    Currently, all five of Indiana’s Supreme Court justices were appointed by Republican governors. The three who just signed the majority opinion in Medical Licensing Board v. Planned Parenthood lifting the temporary injunction and reinstating Indiana’s abortion band—Molter, Rush and Massa—will all be on the ballot for retention in 2024.

    The opinion states (I kid you not) that women in Indiana achieved equality in 1893. By their definition, Hoosier “equality” does not even include suffrage. The following paragraph is quoted verbatim from p. 35 of the majority opinion:

    In 1984, voters ratified an amendment to Article 1, Section 1 changing its statement that “all men are created equal” to say instead that “all people are created equal.” Again, we must determine “the common understanding of the proposers and ratifiers of the constitutional amendment.” Campbell v. City of Indianapolis, 155 Ind. 186, 57 N.E. 920, 928 (1900). And here again, the historical evidence is clear: the amendment was a purely stylistic update to the Constitution, and our Court previously recognized “the General Assembly desired no substantive change.” Gallagher v. Ind. State Election Bd., 598 N.E.2d 510, 514 n.4 (Ind. 1992). A century before the 1984 amendment, our Court had already held that our Constitution protects men and women equally. Leach, 34 N.E. at 642. Changing “men” to “people” in the 1984 amendment simply better reflected that understanding and was further meant to avoid offense.

    These three justices are limiting “all people” in Indiana to only those included in “We the People” of the United States Constitution. If retained, these justices will follow SCOTUS as more and more Americans are stripped of civil rights and liberties. If we vote them out, we can at the same time elect a governor to appoint justices who will protect the fundamental human rights of women, children, and all marginalized communities.


  4. I am considering voting in the republican primary next May just to vote for one of the other republican candidates running for Senator. If people all over the state did this banks could be kicked off the ticket early and then we could have a fair race between Carmichael and the winning R.

    If you aren’t from northeast Indiana you probably don’t know just what a terrible person banks is. The republican party put him in DC back in 2016. His competitor was a wealthy farmer, Kip Tom, who almost beat him. When the R party saw the danger of losing banks they spent millions in out of state money to enable his win. Banks was an ALEC and Club for Growth favorite in the state legislature and they made sure he would represent them in DC.

    For a person that claims to be a Christian he is one of the most hateful people in Indiana and DC.

  5. If democrats will show up despite the “hopeless” conditions I believe they will be surprised with unexpected wins.

  6. Also, can’t imagine there’s widespread support for funding charter schools at the expense of public schools. How have improbable Indiana Democrats won statewide elections in the recent past?

  7. The United States can’t afford NOT to support Ukraine security along with NATO and all other allies. President Zelensky and the war in Ukraine are the only things standing between Putin’s nuclear threat and democracy in the rest of the world. The Unholy Alliance of Russia, China and North Korea is a threat against any possibility of maintaining the precarious peace around the globe. United States, NATO and all allies seeking democracy are a short step from “boots on the ground” in Ukraine; the continued support can and will prevent our active involvement in World War III.

    Banks and all other Republicans in government at local, state and federal levels cannot think beyond their personal financial gain and power over those they believe to be lesser humans. Polling results Indiana residents, and other Republican states, regarding aid to Ukraine, like polls regarding abortion, voting rights, LGBTQ rights, education of younger generations and the returning rise of antisemitism would prove to be against MAGA, White Nationalism and the “Freedom Kaucus Klan”.

    “Jim Banks is Indiana’s version of Margery Taylor Green. It’s bad enough that he continually embarrasses us in the House. We sure don’t need him in the Senate.” His DANGER in either seat far outweighs his embarrassment.

  8. Laurie Gray – thank you for bringing attention to the need to vote No for the three Indiana Supreme Court justices running for retention. I would not have otherwise known the important details of their opinion that you pointed out and I will do my best to spread this info.

  9. I agree with Laurie as well. The key is to vote.

    As Robert Hubbell’s daily newsletter reminds, we have every reason to be hopeful that Democrats can win in 2024. However, there is NO reason to be complacent. We must leave nothing to chance! Each of us needs to get engaged in the get-out-vote efforts.

  10. It’s so easy to bash Republicans like Banks because they are indeed all the things you all say they are. The real question is how did they get there in the first place. As with most population samples, it’s the 30% that create 75% of the discord. Those on this blog today who advocate voting don’t say that NOT voting this time may be akin to not being able to vote again should the fetid GOP candidates gain control of the government AND the courts. When the crooks are in control of the law, you get more crime and the people suffer even more.

    In the next election – and this applies to Ohio too, Texas and all the other pathetically red states – the 70% of rational voters must oust the right-wing crazies or they will soon discover that they will not be able to vote again. Yes, that’s the main goal of corporate-fueled fascism. One party. One rule. End of story.

  11. I’m afraid many Hoosier democrats have fallen for US war propaganda regarding Russia and Ukraine. Sending billions to Ukraine is a great way to fund the two oligarchic political parties. As for Banks getting the right answer, “Even a blind squirrel…”

    If you expect NPR or MSNBC to give you all you need to know to make an informed decision, guess again.

    China and Russia align with Brazil, South Africa, and India to form BRICS and dozens of other countries, including Saudi Arabia. They are far from an “unholy alliance.”

    The BRICS+ initiative is just an alternative to the predatory capitalism path the US continues to follow even though Einstein told leaders to abandon it in the 40s.

    If Hoosiers had a progressive or populist candidate, they would most likely be supported ahead of a party-toting candidate. We saw this in 2016 with Bernie Sanders and again in 2020 until the whole field of dems bailed and Liz Warren screwed Bernie twice.

    Stealing JoAnn’s quote again, our two political parties might be considered an “unholy alliance.” If you remember, Trump was a populist in 2016 and won over the worst candidate the Dems could have chosen. Now Trump is the GOP…so is Banks and Braun.

  12. This should be a good year for Dems, even in Indiana. The question is, are they ready to do the hard work? Will they get boots on the ground to go to the doors of every potential voter? Will they be smart enough to have voter registration forms with them? You need effort even more than money. VOTE! VOTE! VOTE!

  13. Two observations: one, unfortunate but not to be overlooked piece of evidence against Sheila’s thesis that Indiana Dems could beat the Republican/Banks in 2024: Diego Morales (the IN Secretary of State). He was shown through pre-election reporting to be thoroughly unqualified for the job, with credible allegations of sexual harassment/assault and voting fraud, among other nasty/credible allegations, while his Dem opponent was shown to be thoroughly capable of the job — yet Morales won by a landslide (54% to 40%, with 5% going to 3rd party), giving up only a few percentage points that his fellow statewide Republicans won by. Truly, if the 42-37-20 split referenced in Sheila’s blog actually resulted in turnout where ISSUES swayed the 20 percent unaffiliated voters, Morales would have handily lost his race. He won by almost as much as other republicans, casting serious doubt that Dems can win statewide even with favorable matchups.

    Second, in response to Laurie Gray’s point above about voting NO on Supreme Court justices, I would simply caution everyone to consider how much WORSE it would be if Braun gets to fill 3 vacant seats on the Court. I am not so sanguine that Dems can really retake the Governor’s mansion — and if they don’t, then I suspect those who want to vote out the 3 current Justices will genuinely detest Braun’s replacement Justices. Be careful what you wish for.

  14. Todd, I love your use of the term ‘US war propaganda’. How bogus. Let’s assume that Putin’s goal is for Russia to regain their empire. Having control of Ukraine would be step one to exercising control of the Black Sea. The sovereignty of Romania, a neighbor of Ukraine and a NATO member, would be under threat. Where do you draw the line? Why have Sweden and Finland opted to join NATO?

  15. Michael, apparently you don’t understand the role of the State Dept and our media. If you think they are a truth-seeking apparatus, why has our government criminalized whistleblowers? Why silence Julian Assange?

    When our State Dept goons aren’t in office, they are employed by MIC-funded NGOs in Washington. Just waiting their turn. It’s a revolving door…

    NATO is the USA-MIC. It is the cause of Russia’s special military operation. If China used a front like NATO and expanded all along our borders, I doubt we’d be as patient as Russia. 😉

  16. Regarding David’s comment – he is correct about Diego Morales. The reason Dems can’t even win statewide offices is that the R party leadership consistently tells voters to vote a straight ticket. That is how people like Morales get elected. The bulk of the rural Indiana republicans watch Fox and Newsmax and listen to the likes of Glen Beck. The lies they prefer hearing 24/7 convince them to vote R, no matter who it is or how criminal they are.

    It seems the only way to escape living under red state BS is to move to a blue state.

  17. Vernon – the republican party took control of Indiana back in 2011 with the advanced computer algorithms used for redistricting. They locked up this state with extreme gerrymandering back then and pushed it even further after the recent census.

  18. Laurie, I’m with Nancy and Theresa—thanks for your invaluable information. In the past, when I saw names of justices up for re-election I have just bypassed and not cast a vote either way, because I didn’t know anything about them and felt I couldn’t reasonably make yea or nay decisions. I know now, and vow to help get the word out. And going forward, I plan to do more due diligence prior to voting.

  19. We often hear the phrase “it’s all about the money“. With today’s Republican Party, it’s ONLY about the money. They worry about millions of Ukrainians coming here. Not even considering that if Ukraine can keep its sovereignty, they would stay and rebuild the country they love.

  20. All of the Banks quote cited is counterfactual!
    the economy under Biden is trucking on .

  21. I’m also with Laurie in regard to Indiana Supreme Court justices. I have their names. Yes, we could end up with justices even worse, but we could end up with justices who are better, and if we do nothing, nothing will change. As an aside, some years ago I, a Democrat, voted in the Republican primary in order help Senator Lugar stay in the race. Instead, extreme Republicans outvoted their more rational party members and chose a really “in touch” fellow who believed that women who are raped cannot get pregnant. That year Hoosiers elected a Democrat to the Senate.

  22. I recall when Indiana was NOT so dependably red. We had Vance Hartke and Birch Bayh as our Senators, and, if all you read at the time was the very Republican-leaning Indianapolis Star, you’d think they were Satan reincarnated. I, too, believe that most Hoosiers have common sense and if they informed themselves about Banks and other Republicans, as well as the Indiana Judges, they’d vote them out. One major hurdle is the extensive gerrymandering Republicans have done to help ensure that getting them out of office will be difficult. Difficult is not impossible, and as Americans have awoken to the reality of just how bad Trump and his SCOTUS picks were, plus the risk of future opinions stripping away rights previously found to be protected under the Constitution, I hope for every future election to set new records for voter turnout. It’s how we stopped Trump in 2020, and it’s how we can stop Banks, too.

  23. Banks has no strong Dem opposition. It would be great to find a Dem from Ft. Wayne, Evansville and other places than Indy who could get out the vote in rural areas. Banks will slide into place despite his incompetency. Ditto for Braun. We need to get rid of the box that allows voting for a straight ticket. Make people think about choices.

  24. Most of us learned that in WWII, dictatorial tyrants like Hitler (and now Putin) have insatiable appetites for world domination. If not stopped sooner, the cost in lives and treasure will be far greater later.

    It came home to me again recently as I celebrated my grandson’s 20th birthday. I’m so thankful Joe Biden has taken steps to fund UKRANIANS’ ability to fight off Putin rather than sending our own young men like my grandson into battle.

    Jim Banks is a military veteran of Afghanistan. He should know better than to adopt a pro-Putin posture.

  25. We MUST increase the voter turnout in Indiana. It’s dismal and has been for a very long time. I’m not at all convinced that the majority of Indiana citizens support the nonsense that continues to come from the Indiana legislature or the extremism of Mike Braun, Erin Houchin, Jim Banks, et. al. The key to changing the political landscape in Indiana is getting many more voters to the polls. I don’t have the solution to that problem. I wish I did.

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