Voters are faced with a choice between a possible fascist and a possible criminal. Neither Hillary Clinton nor Donald Trump is remotely qualified to be president of the United States.

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THE Donald or Hillary? What a terrible choice to be imposed on the American people.

The failure of our two major political parties has left the American voters with a choice between two candidates for president, neither of whom is remotely qualified to lead our nation.

Hillary Clinton has a record of failure from her Rube Goldberg health-care proposal that crashed and burned during her husband’s presidency to a term as secretary of state that ended with America less secure than when she began and the world in increased violence and disorder. But she did find time to grant special favors to major donors to the Clinton Foundation and to lie blatantly to the father of a victim of the terrorist attack on our consulate in Benghazi, Libya.

She is under investigation by the FBI for serious violations of regulations protecting the security of official correspondence. Even with the interpretation most favorable to her claims, she ignored the rules applicable to everyone else in the State Department.

She has no political guiding light other than moving far enough to the left to pre-empt Bernie Sanders, perhaps best illustrated by her repudiation of the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement that she had earlier endorsed as the “gold standard” of such agreements as secretary of state.

In short, nothing in her campaign promises a more secure or prosperous United States.

Donald Trump responds to every challenge only with a mammoth load of ignorance matched by an equal load of arrogance. He is so personally insecure that he can only respond to anyone who disagrees with him by personal insults. He delights in deprecating every conceivable American minority. He convicts himself, out of his own mouth, as a racist.

Donald Trump shows not the slightest acquaintance with the Constitution or with any limitations on the power of the presidency. He seems, in short, to be running for dictator.

So we seem to be faced with a choice between a possible fascist and a possible criminal. Neither is remotely qualified to be president of the United States.

So, what to do?

What course of action can there be for a thoughtful voter let down by two political parties determined to offer what may well be the worst choice of candidates in our nation’s history?

Not to vote, it seems to me, is a choice as irresponsible as that which the two parties has given us. It is a passive option that shows indifference to our nation’s future direction and ignores the importance of all the other offices and issues that will appear on November’s presidential ballot.

A number of friends have told me that they will write in a name — any name — of someone they deem worthy. That’s better than abstention, but it will never show up publicly as a protest, which is the whole point of the exercise.

Better still is to choose that third-party candidate already qualified to appear on the ballot in all 50 states. Perhaps the only party so qualified now is the Libertarian. The easiest measure of our objection to the choice foisted on us by the two major parties will be the difference between the Libertarian vote for President in 2012 and that of this November. With the conscious choice of many or most of the voters unhappy with the major-party candidates, that difference is likely to be substantial — perhaps substantial enough to encourage the major parties in the future to reform their method of choosing presidential candidates.

There are two possible objections to this course.

The first is a disagreement with the Libertarian platform, a criticism with which I agree. But it is irrelevant, as even the greatest conceivable number of votes for this course of action has no chance of actually becoming a plurality in any state, thus affecting any electoral votes. But it would show the depth of our disgust at what we have been offered.

The second is that this action would elect an even worse candidate: Hillary if you are a Republican, The Donald if you are a Democrat. Perhaps so, but unlikely. Those two candidates are equally undesirable, just in different ways, and I am unwilling to be held responsible for supporting such an obnoxious member of my own party. Neither should you be.

And maybe, just maybe, the delegates to one or both national conventions will revolt and nominate a qualified candidate, however unlikely that prospect.

The best of all possible solutions, however, is the emergence of a serious third-party candidate with an appeal across the political spectrum. Such a candidate might well be able to carry a sufficient number of states to throw the election to the House of Representatives and actually to be elected by that body.

No such candidate has emerged as I write, but there are still several weeks during which one might. It is toward that end that we should all work and hope.

God save the United States of America.