I developed a soft spot in my political heart for Thomas Frank after he published What's the Matter with Kansas? How Conservatives Won the Heart of America in 2004. It seemed to me that he correctly identified how the Republican party uses culture-war politics to stir up white working-class voters, and that such support usually comes at the expense of their economic well-being. True, I was rather critical of Mr. Frank's handling of the importance of religious conviction, but there is much in his book that I still find convincing. Be that as it may, I take his views seriously, and so I'm always happy to come across new work from him.
In that spirit, then, I recommend that you read this article on the role that the rejection of trade agreements plays in generating white working-class support for Donald Trump's presidential campaign. It's not the whole story, of course, and Mr. Frank knows as much, but he is clearly correct to pay attention to what Trump is actually saying on the campaign trail, and if you look at videos or read speeches, you'll see that Trump spends a lot of time denouncing trade agreements that he and his supporters hold responsible for gutting American manufacturing.
By the way, just so you know, both of my parents were born and raised in Kansas. I too was born there, but I grew up in Texas.
Once you've warmed to the topic after reading Professor Krugman's article, then you might want to look at another post on the austerity delusion. There you'll find an informative video from Professor Mark Blyth on the politics of austerity.
Thomas Frank looks at the swindle being perpetrated by higher education.
Because I worked as an adjunct for a decade before I left academia in 2003, I can fully appreciate Frank's remarks about part-time faculty. But I also felt the poignancy of his remarks about wildly overpriced textbooks, rampaging administrators, and ballooning student debt.