Justin Gest

Justin Gest is an assistant professor of public policy at George Mason University's Schar School of Policy and Government and author of The New Minority: White Working Class Politics in an Age of Immigration and Inequality.

Recent Articles

The 2016 Election Was Ultimately About One Big Thing

A new book argues it was a struggle over identity.

(AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)
Identity Crisis: The 2016 Presidential Campaign and the Battle for the Meaning of America By John Sides, Michael Tesler, and Lynn Vavreck Princeton University Press This article appears in the Spring 2018 issue of The American Prospect magazine. Subscribe here . With more than 20 candidates and expanded sources of both news and disinformation, the 2016 presidential campaign was a cacophonous circus. And with a result that hinged on razor-thin margins across Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin, post-election analyses have been equally disorienting. They have pointed to meddling by the Russian GRU and the American FBI; white people, black people, brown people; Hillary Clinton’s hubris, her charity, her wardrobe; widespread racism, misogyny, piety, fear, and desperation. With the luxury of hindsight and analytical acumen, political scientists John Sides, Michael Tesler, and Lynn Vavreck have produced an exceptionally well-researched and insightful postmortem that soberly isolates...

Can the Democratic Party Be White Working Class, Too?

While Hillary Clinton was losing Montana by more than 23 points, Steve Bullock was elected governor running as a progressive Democrat. What can the rest of us learn from Montana? 

Justin Gest
This article appears in the Spring 2017 issue of The American Prospect magazine. Subscribe here . wwc_homepage_logo-3.jpg Nothing about Governor Steve Bullock bears a resemblance to President Donald Trump. The son of educators, he had a humble, unremarkable upbringing in the Rocky Mountain town of Helena, Montana’s state capital. He is less than comfortable in front of flashbulbs. A Columbia-trained attorney, Bullock is happiest being left alone to study his briefing notes or the minutiae of legislation in his quiet office. His interactions with constituents come across as a little forced but, humble and solicitous, his earnestness shines through. Bullock opened his first State of the State address in 2013 by saying, “My name is Steve and I work for the state.” While Hillary Clinton lost Montana by more than 20 points in 2016, Bullock was narrowly re-elected, winning by a margin of 50 percent to 46 percent. He is cautious about interviews with the press—not...