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.