Please Share Widely

In November, Hoosiers will vote to fill an open seat for U.S. Senate. Despite primary challenges, the choice will almost certainly be between Marc Carmichael and Jim Banks.

I thought a comparison of their positions would be useful–and for rational voters, motivating. (Marc’s website has background on these issues.)

Abortion: Marc wants to codify Roe v. Wade.

Banks has an A+ rating from Pro-Life America, and a 100% lifetime rating from the National Right to Life Committee. His voting record on abortion/reproductive health can be accessed here.

Gun Violence: Marc wants to reduce America’s gun violence by passing a ban on military-style assault weapons and he supports a national Red Flag law.

Banks opposes both. He supports concealed carry and has voted against background checks for private sales. His voting record on gun issues can be accessed here.

Environment: Marc recognizes the threat posed by climate change and will work to safeguard the environment for our children and grandchildren.

Banks calls climate change a “liberal hoax,” and the Biden Administration’s environmental efforts “a war on energy.” The League of Conservation Voters gives him a 1% lifetime rating. His votes on the environment can be accessed here. 

White Christian Nationalism/Racism. Marc condemns bigotries of all kinds, and emphasizes the importance of fighting racism, anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, and bigotries of all kinds.

Banks created the “anti-Woke” caucus in the House of Representatives and has introduced legislation to outlaw any remaining affirmative action in college admissions. He has been dubbed “Focus on the Family’s Man in Washington.” He opposes all DEI (Diversity, Equity and Inclusion) programs.

LGBTQ+ issues. Marc has called for an end to the demonizing of trans children and supports the civil liberties of LGBTQ+ Americans.

Banks has been vocal in his opposition to gay rights generally, and to trans children especially. In addition to his “Anti-Woke Caucus,” he has supported efforts to ban trans people from the military, prevent trans women from participating in women’s sports, and prevent medical personnel from treating children for gender dysphoria. He recently sponsored a bill that would prevent agencies placing children in foster homes from taking measures to see that gay and trans children would not be placed with foster parents who have religious objections to homosexuality, saying that refusal to place those children in such homes was discrimination against religion.

Public Education/Teachers and Librarians. Marc opposes the recent efforts to censor books and intimidate schoolteachers and librarians. He is particularly concerned about Rightwing efforts to dictate to schools and colleges what they can and cannot teach.

Banks has attacked both public and private schools; he vowed to investigate the National Association of Independent Schools, focusing on the group’s role in political advocacy and its tax-exempt status. He has threatened to “expose” what he calls widespread political indoctrination in the public schools, and claims that lawmakers have a “moral duty” to investigate the use of academic accreditation associations as “political tools by leftist ideologues.” When he was in the Indiana legislature, he voted to allow instruction in creationism and supported educational vouchers that sent tax dollars to private, overwhelmingly religious schools.

Wages and Collective Bargaining. Marc supports a living wage and the right of workers to bargain for it. He believes that the recent signs of union resurgence are good news, and he joins with the 67% of Americans who—according to Gallup–support organized labor in the US.

Banks gets a zero rating from the AFL-CIO. When he served in the Indiana legislature, he supported “Right to work” legislation (dubbed by labor as “Right to work for less.”) On vote after vote in Congress, he has voted against labor; a list of those votes can be seen here. 

Healthcare. Marc supports Medicare for All, which would save an enormous amount of money (an estimated $600 billion per year, not including savings on prescription drugs) while providing everyone in America with access to high-quality health care coverage.

Banks voted against the most recent expansion of Medicaid and supports legislation that would ban vaccine mandates. He has voted to repeal the ACA, and against legislation that would prevent insurers from discriminating on the basis of pre-existing conditions.  A review of all of his healthcare votes is here.

Immigration. Marc supports critically needed reform of America’s immigration laws, to allow us to address the chaos at the border, and he supports a path to citizenship for DACA children and other undocumented persons who meet certain requirements.

Banks supports finishing Trump’s wall on the southern border, eliminating federal funding for sanctuary cities, and the deportation of “criminal illegal aliens.” He opposes any legislation granting amnesty for any undocumented persons (presumably including children currently protected by DACA) and opposes any expansion of guest-worker programs.

Other: Marc wants to ensure a fair, impartial and ethical judiciary; Banks enthusiastically supported the rushed confirmation of Amy Coney Barrett and other deviations from longstanding norms.

Marc supports reforming the tax code to ensure that the rich pay their fair share, while Banks opposes any increase to the tax rate on profits earned from the sale of stocks, bonds, and real estate.

Marc also supports reclassification of marijuana to Schedule 3, and further research on its effects. Banks has voted repeatedly against efforts to fund research into the effects of marijuana. Banks’ votes on issues related to pot are here.

In November, Hoosiers will choose between a reasonable, thoughtful person who actually understands government, and an extreme MAGA culture warrior who will be generously funded by the usual suspects.

We have eight months to inform voters of the implications of that choice.

Valentine’s Day is tomorrow. The only valentine I want is the widest possible sharing of this information with Hoosier voters.


  1. Excellent analysis. Another reason to vote Democrat is the fact that the GOP endorsed Banks even before the primary. Talk about manipulation of their own party members. Republicans should be insulted that they are essentially told how there is no necessity for a primary for the Senate seat. Even though I don’t agree with Rust’s politics, I do agree that it is his business how he votes and if he wants to run as a Republican now, then so be it.

  2. A matter of fact framing of the most debated issues in our political landscape. The contrast is very clear. Thank you, Sheila. Well done. Will pass it on.

  3. Sometimes, I wish I was a Hoosier so I could help fix the middle of the country.

    Other times, sanity prevails.

  4. Why are Republicans so desperate for control of every aspect of our lives?

    Women, dark-skinned, religions other than Evangelical Christians, poor people, immigrants, those not ready to kill others for any threat, urban dwellers, liberals, educators, and intellectuals.

    Without us, where would they be?

  5. Why would any Hoosier vote for Banks?

    He’s not making America great again with his voting record. Once elected, he’s ignored common sense legislation that works for everyone and voted straight for MAGA/Trump Republicans. In other words, he alienates/ignores many of his constituents.

    Marc will get my vote, and I’ll share his information with others.

  6. There is one category or philosophy, or whatever one would call it, that you neglected to list. If anyone is offended by my language, please realize we are in circumstances that parallel, in significant ways, the Weimar Republic in its last year. The category or whatever, in which Banks gets an 11 on a scale 10 is: he is an asshole.

  7. Banks’ faux ‘Christianity’ is full of hatred and hostility. He is guilty of projecting his animosity onto any ideas that don’t coincide with his extreme religious/political beliefs. He claims that public schools are indoctrinating children, yet it is actually private religious schools that indoctrinate children.
    He accused Indiana University (his alma mater) administration of failing to respond to campus anti-Semitism. He sent a letter to IU’s President that contained a threat of potential losing access to federal funding.

    His wife, Amanda, is the VP of Education at the Family Policy Alliance. One of her major education responsibilities is training elected officials. To the best of my knowledge she spends most of her time in Washington DC. Please google her for more info on the power she has in DC and across the country.

    Does anyone know if Banks’ children attend a school in or near DC? I actually wonder if he can legally claim to be an Indiana resident just by owning a house in the state.

  8. One more thing. Banks was always being interviewed by Tucker Carlson on Fox. Carlson’s son is Banks’ aide in his DC office. Certainly no mutual back scratching going on there. As far as I know, Banks still receives a lot of airtime on fox and friends. He refuses to be interviewed on ABC, CBS or NBC because those stations would not allow him to spew his lies without being challenged.

  9. I’m wondering if you should label the positions of each candidate to make it clear to ALL potential readers which is bad and which is good. It seems that a good number of my MAGA friends might be confused.

  10. Pete, I think the answer is simple: Greed!
    You folks have Banks, and some of us have 3 more years of DeSantis.

  11. Banks’ hypocrisy, like other MAGAts, is stunning. He and his ilk seem to have no other goals than to make life miserable for as many people as possible, while enriching the already wealthy who already have more money than their next several generations could ever spend.
    Nancy, back in 2020, Mark Meadows, TFG’s chief of staff, claimed to own and live in a 14×62 foot mobile home in the Appalachian mountains in North Carolina. He neither owned nor lived there, but claimed it as his primary dwelling when he registered to vote in NC. He never spent so much as a single night there. So, in answer to your musing about where Banks calls home…

  12. Let’s philosophize. Sheila has laid out the nitty gritty choices for the next election that boil down to a single criterion, i. e., 2025 and unitary executive theory of government (dictatorship) vs. democracy. We once fought a revolution in our rejection of King George III’s God-given unitary executive powers via birth in favor of having the governed make the choice of their governors, a small d system now under attack by a psychopath and his Magas who wish to return to the unitary executive form of government, i. e., dictatorship not of birth but via fear, force, and intimidation.

    Banks, Braun and other cave dwellers who want to take us back to Charlemagne and the Holy Roman Empire are at the forefront of a return to such servitude of the polity and are undeserving of the vote of the sane in this 21st century. I will be voting for their opponents and suggesting to others that they follow suit.

  13. The country has turned rightward and the sooner the DEMs realize the reality, the more votes they can get from non-MAGA GOPers, independents and sometimes voting DEMs. The GOP has very successfully weaponized “Medicare for All” since 2018 and the use of these words dooms nearly every DEM who uses them. Marc has doomed himself by messaging – the tried and true current DEM way. SAD.

  14. Lester – Don’t mistake a gerrymandered vote to tell us that the country is turning right, because the presidential vote, hampered as it is by the vote of the electoral college, tells us that the country is turning to a center/left position, even when per the electoral vote a Republican president “wins.” Biden won by several millions of votes but nearly “lost” because of his narrow wins in certain states. We need to abolish the electoral college in favor of one of the linchpins of democracy, i. e., majority rule. Today. Why should we invest the powers of the majority in a minority?

  15. There are no questions about his positions from my standpoint. I just hope he is a more effective, energetic and inspirational candidate than recent Democratic Senate and Governor candidates. I also hope that his campaign is more well-conceived and well-executed than recent Democratic campaigns.

  16. I am betraying my history as a Republican by saying this, but there is a downside to the aggregate popular vote. That is the fact that one or two giant states can offset the will of the rest of the country. I think that would be seriously de-stabilizing, just as the electoral college is de-stabilizing. My solution, and it has weaknesses of its own, would be to grant each State a single vote for President that by Law goes to whomever wins the popular vote in that State.

    One obvious weakness is that we absolutely need to have an odd number of States under such a system in order to prevent a tie vote. My opinion would be for that to be Puerto Rico as opposed to D.C. for the simple reason that D.C. is the seat of the Federal government and is of questionable independence.

  17. And Sheila, an excellent comparison of the anticipated Senatorial candidates in Indiana. I am supporting Marc all the way.

    Please provide a similar comparison for the other state wide races in Indiana.

  18. CGH–Once the ballots are firmed up, and we know who will be running for Governor on the Republican side, and who will be the nominee for Attorney General on the Democratic side, I will do so.

  19. I just found a January 2018 article in the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette that quotes Banks stating that he and his wife bought a house in VA in 2017 so the family could live together. That means their three daughters attend school in the area which means they live in VA at least nine months our of the year. It is probably a safe bet that they are rarely at their house in Columbia City, IN.

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