Libertarian Gary Johnson: May I have a word with you, #NeverTrumpers?

Why, yes, Gary Johnson, you may.

A Twitter pal notes that the word “libertarian” is missing in the clip below. So it is, while the word “conservative” is featured in closing. Imagine that. Given who he’s pitching this message at, Johnson smartly sticks to rhetoric about smaller government and lower taxes instead of traditional libertarian hobbyhorses, which’ll get him a look from some dejected Cruz fans after the primaries are over. One big problem with Johnson is that he’s pro-choice; another is that he’s very soft on immigration. But does it matter? For mainstream conservatives, he’s a pure protest vote. You’re not electing him president, you’re simply saying that you prefer a flawed candidate who errs on the side of less powerful government to an authoritarian like Trump. Besides, the more support Johnson gets in early general election polling, the more likely it is that some more traditional conservative will jump in hoping to siphon off those votes and land a spot onstage at the presidential debates. A Monmouth poll last month had Johnson at 11 percent in a hypothetical match-up with Hillary and Trump. And a new CNN poll out today finds a lot of skepticism among anti-Trumpers that the party will come together behind Trump by fall:

About half of Republican voters say the GOP is now divided and will remain so in November (49% now, about the same as the 46% who said the same in March). That sentiment is more common among non-Trump supporters. In that group, 60% say the party is divided and won’t be able to unite by November. That figure dips to 37% among Trump’s backers.

There may be a chicken-and-egg element to that. The more Republicans there are who think the party won’t unite, the more emboldened anti-Trump Republicans may feel in choosing not to unite. Which may explain why Johnson is beginning his pitch now. If he can crack double digits in a few early polls, that’ll generate some news coverage and other anti-Trumpers, seeing the coverage, will sense that his third-party momentum is real and will want to climb aboard.

Anyway. I know it’s bumming out Cruz fans to be thinking about this on the eve of the Alamo in Indiana, but let me gently remind you that Indiana isn’t really the Alamo. California is. Trump did well enough last week in the mid-Atlantic that he can now conceivably clinch the nomination on June 7th with a strong showing on the coast even if gets shut out tomorrow night. Indiana is the battle Cruz needs to win just to make it to the Alamo. And if this new poll from ABC is accurate, that Alamo will end the same way the original one did.

An exclusive Eyewitness News poll conducted by SurveyUSA shows that in California, 54 percent of registered Republican voters are resigned to vote for Donald Trump and 57 percent of registered Democratic voters are resigned to vote for Hillary Clinton.

The poll, released on Monday, showed that 51 percent of registered voters and 88 percent of strong Democrats have an extremely negative view of Trump, while 14 percent of registered voters and 45 percent of strong Republicans have an extremely positive view of Trump

Trump polls at 54 percent, Ted Cruz at 20 percent and John Kasich at 16 percent.

That’s the third poll in a row showing Trump at 49 percent or better in California. His lead has increased in each one too, from 18 points two weeks ago to 27 points last week to 34 now. If you’re a Cruzer and he ends up falling short tomorrow night, find some comfort in the fact that at least he won’t be forced to trudge around the country for another six weeks only to finish off with a hellacious beating on the coast that hands the nomination to Trump anyway. Think happy thoughts. Thoughts about Gary Johnson!

Speaking personally, I think the biggest bummer about Indiana is just how ignominiously it’s ended for Cruz. Every day seems to bring some new mishap or insult that leaves Drudge cackling in 40-point letters — Carly Fiorina falls off the stage, Cruz gets heckled by a kid, his wife has to answer a stupid question about the Zodiac killer, and Trump fans keep barking at him about the wall while he tries, futilely, to engage them in rational discussion. The worst was Pence’s half-hearted endorsement of Cruz on Friday, for which he’s tried to atone (a little) today. Cruz’s frustration with that is palpable; watch at 9:10 of the second clip below as he scolds a reporter for asking Pence about Trump rather than about why he’s backing him. It’ll all be over soon, mercifully.

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