“We underestimated the amount of anger and frustration among working people and especially white workers, both male and female, about their economic status,” said Lee Saunders, president of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees and chairman of the A.F.L.-C.I.O.’s political committee.

What Unions Got Wrong About Trump

One official with the United Steelworkers said his Pittsburgh-based union had urged members to back Mrs. Clinton, but many preferred Mr. Trump, largely because of his tough talk on trade with Mexico and China. Many lapped up his promises to bring back manufacturing jobs, hinting at a return (an improbable one) to the 1950s and ’60s, when manufacturing boomed and unions were mighty.

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