Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump gestures to his camouflaged "Make America Great" hat at a campaign rally at the Redding Municipal Airport in Redding, Calif. on June 3, 2016.(AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)
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Donald Trump's prediction that he can capture the biggest prize in the November presidential election, the state's 55 electoral votes, rubs up against a dismal history for Republicans over a generation.Here's Trump's challenge: unite Republicans while finding millions of new supporters in a state where Democrats hold every statewide office and both chambers of the Legislature. To win, Trump would need a heroic turnout from the state's 4.9 million Republicans, while finding 2 million or more swing voters to get near a majority.There are more than 8 million Democrats, and the state's 4.2 million independents – about 1 in 4 voters – tilt Democratic.The last significant push by a Republican to win California was in 2000, when Bush was backed by $15 million, then lost to Democrat Al Gore by 12 points.McCain, the 2008 GOP nominee against Barack Obama, boasted about competing in California, but he lost by 24 points.Trump has no comparable organization.Party registration overall has withered to 27 percent of the state total, compared with 45 percent for Democrats.Independents now outnumber Republicans in nearly two dozen of the state's 53 congressional districts.
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