Donald Trump is the gift the Democratic Party could never have expected. The Republicans of whom he purports to be one want nothing to do with him.  All the more reason the Democrats should welcome him with open arms.

So loathsome is the prospect of his nomination that some Californian Democrats are actually talking about re-registering as Republicans just to vote against him. That would be a mistake.

Fellow columnist on these pages, Joe Mathews, bemoans the fact that California’s GOP does not allow independents such as him to vote in the Republican-only presidential primaries. Of course if the motivation is high enough, those so inclined have until May 23 to change party affiliation for the June 7th primary.
But that might be counter-productive for Democrats and like-minded independents in California and everywhere who should view Trump as the gift that keeps giving.  A Trump victory here that could get him close to or over the top would only be good news for Democrats. Here’s why:

+ In the latest general election polls, Trump does poorly against either Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders, though John Kasich, currently on bystander status, fares better against both.

+ Some GOP strategists see Trump’s primary support levelling off over the past two months compared with Mitt Romney’s anticipated forward burst at this stage of the 2012 campaign.

In the same article, GOP pollster, Jim McLaughlin, who previously did work for Trump, is quoted as seeing softening support for him with a majority of the primary voters beginning to question whether he is capable of handling the job of president.

While there can be few doubts that the GOP high command is terrified at the prospect of Trump prevailing, the core strength of the Trump campaign which are the millions of voters who have cast their ballots for their hero seems to be fast eroding.

There was strong evidence of this in the most recent GOP primary in Wisconsin where Trump was crushed by the suddenly ascendant Ted Cruz who received over 48 percent of the vote to Trump’s 35 percent.

+ Trump is trending down not upward—his indiscretions apparently finally taking effect. This could also be resonating in his own home state of New York whose delegate-rich primary, second only to California’s, comes up next week.

A recent survey shows Trump losing ground in the Empire State after having what appeared to be an insurmountable lead while Cruz and Kasich are making significant gains.

California with 172 GOP delegates in what is likely to be the make-or-break primary now less than two months away could be thrust into the ironic position of all but guaranteeing a ferocious convention battle regardless of whether the Stop Trump movement falls well short of its objective or comes close to succeeding.

+ If Cruz who is better organized begins to pick up strength here, it will likely be at Trump’s expense. That would not only hearten the GOP anti-Trump forces, but also many Democrats who see Cruz as equally vulnerable in the general election with ideological views well to the right of Trump’s.

+According to a new Associated Press-GfK poll, seven out of 10 people, including nearly 50% of GOP voters look upon Trump unfavorably.

These numbers are sending shudders through California Republicans who would probably prefer not to be seen as the delegation which clinched the nomination for Trump who has an unfavorable rating here of 47% according to the latest Field Poll.

That goal may have been aided by the same poll which shows Trump ahead of Cruz now by only 39% to 32% and the gap increasing at the same time that it makes a badly disunited convention even more predictable.

Any intrusion by the Democrats which could further undermine Trump’s chances of winning the California primary would not seem to work in their favor if he can emerge as the nominee after what by all indications will be a bruising convention battle.

With Hillary Clinton, still the putative Democratic frontrunner also experiencing high negatives, part of the task in the general election assuming she prevails as the nominee will be to remedy her own tattered imagery.

Californians voted for her over Barack Obama in 2008. However she leads Bernie Sanders here by only 47%-41% and the gap has been steadily narrowing.

Sanders in what amounts to a strong protest candidacy from the Left also has image issues unsettling to conventional Democrats with more moderate views. California is no stranger to supporting protest candidates having backed Ted Kennedy in 1980 and Gary Hart in 1984.

A loss by Clinton in June in the Democrats’ “proportional” primary could imperil her odds of an outright victory on the first ballot which were more secure before Sanders delegate count began steadily rising after a long string of primary victories.

A key will be the Independents or decline-to-states who account for 21.2% of registered voters as of the June 2014 primary. That total has more than doubled since 1994. 40% of them lean Democratic, and the larger percentage lean Democratic-Left.

Whoever claims the giant lode of California’s 546 delegates with 71 still unpledged would also have the power to throw the Democrat’s convention into some turmoil. Depending upon the outcome, it could dramatically change the general election contest given the stark differences in personality and political goals of Clinton and Sanders.

Much like Republicans, Democrats in California and everywhere else had no strategy for dealing with the implausible prospect of a Trump candidacy and may still be ill-prepared for it.

But among many hypothetical scenarios, this one could bring the most satisfaction—if the Democrats can focus on the end game clearly enough.