Thousands of Massachusetts Democrats have denounced their party affiliations since January 1 to jump across the aisle and join the ranks of Independent or Republicans.

Nearly 20,000 Bay State Democrats, or 1.3 percent of the party's Masachussetts population, left to vote in the Republican primary Tuesday. More than 16,300 of that group have "unenrolled" or become Independent voters, while 3,500 have joined the GOP.

Mass. Secretary of State William Glavin attributed the switches to the "Trump phenomenon." The billionaire candidate has a significant lead over fellow top contenders Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz in recent state polls.

"The tenor of the Republican campaign has been completely different from what we've seen in prior Republican presidential campaigns," Galvin said. "You have to look no farther than the viewership for some of the televised debates.

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