Both are unpopular. Only one is a threat.

“This election,” a spokesman for Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) said Thursday, “remains a dumpster fire.” Well, yes, the two major-party candidates for president are historically unpopular. But if this election is unusually bad, it is not because both parties chose bad candidates. There is no equivalence between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton — as even responsible Republicans should be able to recognize.

Ms. Clinton is a knowledgeable politician who has been vetted many times over. She understands and respects the U.S. Constitution. She knows policy. She can cite accomplishments in the public interest, such as pressing through an important children’s health insurance program during her husband’s administration. As a senator, she was respected by colleagues on both sides of the aisle. She completed four years as secretary of state to generally positive reviews. She began her presidential campaign by rolling out a series of serious policy papers.

None of this means you have to like Ms. Clinton or believe she would be a good president. You may disagree with her views; we have done so often enough and will do so again when we think she is wrong. You may believe she was foolish to push for the Libya intervention, arrogant to keep her emails out of the official State Department server, greedy to take large speaking fees as a private citizen. But measured against other major-party candidates of recent times, Ms. Clinton is well within established bounds of competence, knowledge, commitment and integrity. She is not a dumpster candidate.

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