Jim Banks Is Wrong About Everything

In the run-up to Indiana’s primary election, I had the opportunity to learn a lot about far-right Congressman Jim Banks, and what I learned was pretty horrifying. Some of it was what we unfortunately have come to call “politics as usual”–financial shenanigans like the misuse of campaign funds. As I previously noted, an ethics watchdog has documented Banks’ use of a so-called “Leadership PAC” as a slush fund, allowing him to siphon funds from special interests into fancy meals, club dues and the like. (Yesterday, the Washington Post noted he has a million dollar home in Virginia, so elective office is evidently lucrative.)

More concerning are Banks’ culture war positions. Along with clowns like Jim Jordan and Marjorie Taylor Greene, Banks has doubled down on a pro-Trump, anti-woman, anti-gay, anti-liberty performative politics.

Banks has made no bones about his desire for a national ban on abortion with no exceptions, not even for rape, incest or life of the mother. He 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.

When it comes to guns, Banks is opposed to even the most modest efforts to control the proliferation of firearms. He opposes a renewal of the ban on assault weapons, and also opposes a federal “Red Flag” law. He supports concealed carry and has voted against background checks for private sales. His voting record on gun issues can be accessed here.

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. 

When it comes to labor issues, 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. 

Banks is still fighting against any expansion of healthcare coverage, and rejects medical science. He 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.

Banks has voted repeatedly against efforts to fund research into the effects of marijuana. (Those anti-research votes track well with his “know nothing” approach to all issues.) Banks’ votes on issues related to pot are here.

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

Banks is an out and proud White Christian Nationalist. He created the “anti-Woke” caucus in the House of Representatives and 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. He has been especially 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 particularly odious bill that would prevent agencies charged with placing children in foster homes from taking measures to see that gay and trans children 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. (Discriminating against gay children is evidently fine…)

Banks consistently attacks educational institutions of all kinds. He has 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 America’s public schools, and has claimed that lawmakers have a “moral duty” to investigate the use of academic accreditation associations as “political tools by leftist ideologues.”

When Banks was in the Indiana legislature, he voted to allow instruction in creationism and supported the educational vouchers that send tax dollars to private, overwhelmingly religious schools.

And of course, he’s described Trump’s trial as “rigged,” posting on social media that “New York is a liberal sh*t hole.”

Having a Neanderthal like Banks as a Congressman is bad enough. Electing him Senator would be worse.

23 Comments

  1. Thank you, Professor. Truly, I believe even Indiana residents will understand that we need someone much more in tune with what we want as a state and country.

  2. It appears to me that too many voters in this country have been brainwashed by the idolization of Mafia heads (Dons) who spend ill-gotten gains for decades keeping themselves out of even being arrested, let alone serving deserved prison terms. The voters are accepting the fact that what Donald Trump has said in the past is the acceptable truth for today’s elected officials all the way to the White House. “When you are a celebrity you can grab women by their pussies and the let you.” “I could shoot someone on 5th Avenue and get away with it.” That first statement has already been accepted by the public and in areas of the judicial system; I’m waiting for him to reach a desperate level and actually shoot someone to prove his point. Will it be Michael Cohen or Stormy Daniels? Even for Trump, shooting a Judge or their family member might be pushing it but even that is possible today.

    Americans have lost site of priorities and their morals are swirling the bowl of Trump’s gold toilet and the corporations and millionaires and billionaires are funding him to keep him afloat. The acceptance of Banks, et al, is why Trump keeps telling us he will leave all decisions to the states when he returns to the White House.

  3. Banks sounds like a caricature of a rabid Republican far-right fanatic, except he was elected and votes on legislation, which is an odious combination of power and stupidity. Seems like he revels in his own ignorance and intolerance. Sincerely hope he loses bigly.

  4. I’m not at all as optimistic as Dennis. If it hates the right people and has an R after its name, there are enough Hoosiers to elect it.

  5. It seems that Satan himself chose Jim Banks to be one of his favorite personal representatives to spread evil and hatred across our country.

  6. I agree with Jane. Banks’ dark money backers managed to quickly stop Mitch Daniels from running to replace Mike Braun as one of our state’s Senators, but they also convinced the state republican party to quickly endorse him long before the Primary election was held.

    Banks has a frightening amount of power in DC and the willfully ignorant Indiana gop voters will most likely give him what he wants.

  7. I’ve come to believe that Indiana GOP voters are not “willfully ignorant” as Nancy says. They know exactly what they vote for and what they vote against. And every bit of it is related to racism.

  8. If we don’t do enough to convince people to get out and vote, I’m going to fly an American flag upside down. It will be interesting if, when I do that, my neighbor takes down his “Don’t Tread on Me” flag.

  9. Let me guess, Banks is agreeable to sending more billions to Ukraine and Israel .

    With the exception of lifestyle choices, Banks and Biden are on the same page wrt solidifying the MIC and its influence upon the government via these Caucasian military adventures.

  10. I disagree with Theresa; Hoosier GOP voters are willfully ignorant. I see their posts on social media, and they are cringe-worthy. They share memes as facts.

    Even though the schools run by the DoD have some of the highest test scores in the country, Banks wants to run a pilot school choice program because of DEI, and a teacher in Bahrain openly supports the anti-genocide movement. Not surprising since 75% of the population are Muslims.

    https://thefederalist.com/2024/05/30/republicans-defense-amendment-would-rescue-military-kids-from-lefty-indoctrination-in-dod-schools/

    Banks is a typical Republican extremist in Washington. I watched a clip he shared on X where he drills the Northwestern University president for not firing all the faculty who locked arms and prevented the police from arresting student protesters against genocide. He was rude! Jim also didn’t disclose his conflict of interest because he received nearly $250,000 from Israeli lobbies.

    Just another Washington goon appealing to the Hoosier MAGA crowd.

  11. Politics, like any sales job, is essentially the art of avoiding the truth. Still, many current political consumers have removed all of the skills required to be successful at it by becoming true believers. Whatever is said by salespeople of the red is accepted as gospel, so strong is their faith.

    They make it easy by pre-accrediting their bright red heroes. That makes it very easy to be a red politician. Whatever you say, no matter its distance from the truth is accepted lock, stock, and barrel.

    Why? The first thing taught is that liberals always lie, so everything authoritarian must be true.

    The biggest lie is that the right has exclusive rights to the truth, no matter how outlandish any claim seems—a true cult.

  12. What is so apparent with the information in this blog is that too many Indiana voters are deliberately ignorant of even the slightest information about government at all levels, not just federal, but state and local. Banks is a perfect example of the corruption that opening the floodgate of virtually anonymous contributions to Super PACs has unleashed.
    If you have any doubts about the above statement, consider the case against Jamey Noel. Who is he?
    “Noel, the former Clark County sheriff, was charged with six additional felony counts Monday — five counts of theft and one count of money laundering — bringing the total number of felonies he’s facing to 31. His trial is scheduled to begin in November.”…WHAS
    He has been active in Indiana GOP politics for almost 15 years, amassing millions for himself, spouse and adult children. The Indiana Capital Chroncle had an excellent expose on him. Link here: https://indianacapitalchronicle.com/2024/06/03/the-rise-and-fall-of-jamey-noel-and-the-top-indiana-republicans-he-knew-along-the-way/
    The GOP powers that be have expressed “shock” at his criminal actions, yet they benefited in significant ways from his corrupt activities.
    He was elected by the Clark County voters. The entire population of that county is approximately 125,000. Does anyone truly believe that most of those people didn’t know exactly what he was doing?
    Racism, religious bigotry and class grievance insured his continued support by the local pols and voters.
    Now, ask yourself how many people do you know who have any idea who Banks or Noel or any other politician who represents them is. An acquaintance who is a well-educated businessperson was shocked when informed of tfg’s recent conviction, having heard “nothing” about it. “Doesn’t follow the news!”
    This kind of willful ignorance may mean the end of our democratic republic and the advent of theocratic rule with the full support and facilitation of law enforcement and the military. Women beware, as you are the likeliest target of repression and forced submission to patriarchy.

  13. Glad you are using VoteSmart. It could be helpful for you to dig up key votes where Banks voted “No” but 50 or more Republicans voted “Yes” – really shows extremism well.

  14. Banks, in my opinion, is a reflection of some deeper unhealthy issues going on in our society. Thus, very important to be able to “listen” to what is going on. I recently had a casual conversation with a complete stranger who seriously said there would be a lot of “hangings” if Trump was not elected. Scary?

  15. In family photos used in his campaign, I think his daughters look both terrified and uncomfortable. It’s not hard to understand why.

  16. Thank you Sheila for this letter today. We are on the same page. Jim Banks is the man supported for the Project 2025 I am sure. He appears to be perfect for what they want to do to our country. We Must Stop Him. Check out Project 2025 by going to http://www.project2025.org. If you don’t put in the www it may not show up. It is very scary for Indiana and the United States of America. He is a White Christian Nationalist through and through! When we go to the polls in November….we need to vote straight “Blue”. I used to vote for who ever I thought was the best candidate or sorry to say was the best looking male. I had no business voting because I really didn’t care who won and election. I was neither Republican nor Democrat. However, I had to grow up and really mature until I found out who I should have been voting for over the many years. You see I will soon be 81. I graduated from Indiana State University in 1987 and from Brazil High School in 1961. I was married in 1961 and had my first child in 1962. My husband was killed in a car accident in Joliet, IL in 1974….. I was totally lost and wanted to be married because all my friends were married. I married in 1975 and had my second child in 1977. I was divorced in 1980. Life with this man was not the same as my first marriage. He was 13 years older than me with 2 adult children. They were closer to my age. Shorten unpretty story to 1987. I receive a degree in accounting and went to work for the Indiana Department of Revenue. Things appeared to change when Daniels became governor. I retired in 2014 at the age of 70 1/2. I had gotten interested in politicis while working especially from talking to my Democrat boss. However, most of the people that we worked with were die hard Republicans. And most still are! After Trump was elected I attended my first Democrat meeting. I am currently active in the party and attend all of our meetings. Clay County is a Republican county and I am of the minority. I ran for Treasurer in 2022 and pulled a lot of Republican votes but not enough to win. I pulled a Democrat ballot in May even though there were only a few candidates to vote for on the ballot. Unless things change greatly I will never vote for another Republican as long as I live. “Valerie McCray” attended the Loyalty Day Parade in Clay County on May 1st. She is an amazing lady and she is running against the White Christian Nationalist (Republican) Jim Banks. We need to support Valerie to help save our state and our country. Also, we need to vote for “Jennifer McCormick” for our govenor. She attended our Democrat meeting recently that is held once a month. We need to vote the the White Christian Nationalists and KKK Republicans out of Indiana! I recommend “Fever in the Heartland” by Timothy Egan. It is scary and I can see it continuing to happen now in Indiana. Enough for one day!

  17. Having an incoherent Neanderthal like BIDEN as president is bad enough. Re-Electing him would be worse.
    The tsunami backlash continues

  18. gail. Change BIDEN to TRUMP and your post begins to make sense. Otherwise, not.

  19. To Mitch D– please be aware that The Borowitz Report is satire, not news. The new Mexican president never said what was reported there. Man, would it be cool if she did… but then if Trump were re-elected, there might be a 2nd Mexican War. Or a nuking of Mexico City…

  20. Thanks, Sheila. Just today, Banks make a facially dishonest attack on Joe Biden–accusing him of feebleness in an edited video calculated to make it appear that Biden was reaching for a nonexistent chair at a D-Day event. From “Forbes”:

    “The Republican Party’s rapid response X account, RNC Research, posted a clip of Biden bending down in a sitting position while on stage between his wife, First Lady Jill Biden, and French President Emmanuel Macron, captioned “Awkward” with a cringing emoji.

    The post was viewed more than 2.5 million times as of Thursday afternoon and reshared by prominent Republicans, including Donald Trump Jr. and Rep. Jim Banks, R-Ind.—many of whom claimed Biden tried to sit down even though a chair wasn’t in place.

    The video was cut off seconds before Biden does, in fact, sit in a chair that was right below him, after briefly hovering above his seat as he waited for a speaker to finish introducing Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin.

    I’d truly like to know how or why people like Gail, posting supra, prefer to believe lies and somehow ignore reality when it comes to Trump–a true Neanderthal. Being a woman, why isn’t she offended by things like bragging about grabbing womens’ genitals, sexually assaulting and then defaming a woman because she teased him about wearing womens lingerie, cavorting with a porn actress and nude model, then falsifying business records to cover it up to help his campaign, threats to jail perceived enemies, cozying up to murderous dictators like Putin, banning all abortions and contraceptives, abolishing the Department of Education, and threats to withdraw the US from NATO?

  21. Thank You for the heads up about Jim Banks. You are correct we do not need somebody like Jim Banks in Congress or in the Senate. I will not be voting for him. We need to post a sign Wanted: Traditional Party of Lincoln Republicans who are qualified to serve in State & Federal government positions. MAGA need not apply!

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