Salena Zito reminds us - and it needs to be said repeatedly - that Donald Trump was not the cause of the populist surge, which had already begun in 2014. Nor did he ever fit it perfectly, he was just the only national player willing to be noisy about this particular disenfranchised group. In fact some would say he never fit them all that well at first, they molded him into something more to their liking. Others would go further and say he still didn't fit that group even at the end but held the field by default, and because the enemy of my enemy is my friend.
Their coalition formed long before Trump descended that escalator in 2015. He was never the cause — they were already there, just waiting for the right person to speak up for them. He was the result.
They showed up and voted in the midterm elections in 2006 against the Republican establishment. Some of them voted for Barack Obama in 2008 because of his aspirational message, then voted Republican two years later because he did not live up to the ideals he had run on.