Congressman-elect Jim Banks won a hard fought battle in Indiana to represent them in Congress. John Miller from the National Review wrote an incredible piece on him, which we feature here for you now.
Columbia City, Ind. — The northeast corner of Indiana is Trump country — a big, flat piece of farmland wrapped around Fort Wayne, a Rust Belt city of a quarter-million people, overwhelmingly white. It contains Indiana’s third congressional district, which borders Michigan and Ohio, and where manufacturing jobs make up a greater percentage of the labor force than in any other congressional district in the country: 23.3 percent, according to the Economic Policy Institute. Donald Trump cleaned up around here, winning 56 percent of the vote in urban Allen County and topping 70 percent in many of the rural areas that surround it.
Jim Banks did even better. This fall, as he sought a seat in Congress for the first time, the Republican ran ahead of Trump almost everywhere. In Allen County, which dominates the district, he outpaced Trump by nine points. “I’m overwhelmed and humbled,” he said afterward. Banks benefited from a weak Democratic opponent: Tommy Schrader is a jobless high-school dropout who gets by on disability insurance. Even so, Banks enjoyed an impressive win — bigger than that of any other third-district Republican in recent memory — and he probably can hold his new seat for as long as he likes.
His showing also suggests that although conservatives will support many parts of Trump’s agenda, their political survival won’t necessarily demand complete fidelity: Banks favors free trade, entitlement reform, and traditional strategic alliances, such as NATO. He praises Paul Ryan and Ryan’s “Better Way” policy plan. Just two weeks before Election Day, when I met with Banks at a coffee shop in his hometown of Columbia City, he admitted that he still hadn’t decided how to vote for president. “Trump is extremely flawed,” he said. “I’m sad that we’ve set the bar as low as we have when so much is at stake.” In the end, Banks joined many other Trump skeptics and late deciders in backing the unconventional GOP nominee — but in a post-election interview, he continued to emphasize his discontent: “I was never an enthusiastic supporter.” He doesn’t appear to have suffered in any way for his differences or his doubts.
The 37-year-old Banks himself is unconventional, at least for…