Trump is heading for the GOP's worst wipeout in California since the Civil War: report
President Donald Trump (MSNBC)

Most election forecasters think that the 2020 presidential race will be close. But there is one thing no one doubts: Trump is going to lose California.

And according to a new poll from UC Berkeley's Institute of Government Studies conducted for the Los Angeles Times, Trump's loss in California could be not only decisive, but historic.

The poll finds just 29 percent of voters plan to vote for Trump, compared to 67 who do not — which would be the GOP's worst showing in California since the Civil War. Even 40 percent of Republicans there believe he should face a primary challenger.

All of this comes as California has taken a clear position at the forefront of federalist power struggles with Trump — the state has led numerous lawsuits to challenge Trump's policies on health care, the environment, and reproductive rights.

It is hard to remember now, but for most of the second half of the twentieth century, California was a red state — it voted Republican in every presidential election from 1952 to 1988, with the exception of the Democratic landslide of 1964. The state became solidly blue beginning in the 1990s, as the Asian and Hispanic immigrant population increased and white suburbanites migrated to other states.

Even after this, major pockets of the state remained Republican strongholds for years, most notably Orange County. But in 2016, Orange County voted for Hillary Clinton, and in 2018, Republicans lost all five of the House seats they held there. As of this year, registered Democrats have surpassed registered Republicans there.

A 2020 California wipeout for Trump on the scale of this new poll has some key political implications. One consequence is that because California is the most populous state, Trump is almost certain to lose the popular vote again — even if he pulls off another electoral win.