THE white working-class men who are planning to vote for Donald J. Trump this November have been called many things: xenophobic, racist, misogynist, dangerously naïve. But even if those descriptions are true, it doesn’t mean these men were fated to be Trump supporters. Recent research in social science and history suggests that they might have been out front in the fight against Mr. Trump — if only the American labor movement weren’t a shell of its former self.
When we think about unions, what typically come to mind are interest groups concerned with wages, benefits and working conditions. Scholars, however, have shown what everyone in politics knows instinctively: Unions are also political organizations that, under the right circumstances, can powerfully channel the working-class vote.