Former New Mexico GOP Gov. Gary Johnson says his libertarian White House bid offers voters "the only third-party" choice between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, "the two most polarizing figures in American politics today."
In an interview on CNN
's "New Day" Tuesday, Johnson says his candidacy – suddenly emerging as a more realistic prospect as some GOP leaders search for an alternative to Trump
– already guarantees a slot on the ballot in all 50 states.
"When you have Hillary and when you have Trump – I think the two most polarizing figures in American politics today – hey, where is the 50 percent of Americans that now declare themselves as independent, which is the phenomenon today," he said.
"I think the vast majority of Americans are libertarians but don't know it and and speaking with a broad brush, socially tolerant, liberal."
Johnson is also aiming to capture voters who might align with Democratic presidential underdog Sen. Bernie Sanders, claiming that he and the Vermont lawmaker "have a whole bunch" in common.
In a political quiz on the site isidewith.com, Johnson says "the next candidate that I side with outside of myself is Bernie Sanders."
"I sided with Bernie 73 percent of the time," but "when it comes to economics we come to a T in the road," he added. "I go one way, he the other. On the social side of Bernie, I get it."
Johnson slammed Trump for his "ridiculous" position on immigration, and as a former "border governor," called his declaration of Mexico sending the country to its worst "just not true."
"They are the cream of the crop," he said of the immigrants. "They're really hard working. We should make it as easy as possible for somebody that wants to come across the border and work to be able to get a work visa, and a work visa should entail a background check and a social security card."
"Building a fence across the border, really, this is crazy," he added. "What it represents is something that this country is not about."
And Clinton, he said, is "the ultimate technocrat" who advocates for a government that "tries to do too much – and because of that, it taxes too much."
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