Fact-challenged candidates don’t instill trust

How would you feel if you drove into a gas station and asked the mechanic to fix your carburetor, and he answered, “What’s a carburetor?”

That’s exactly how those who are dissatisfied with their presidential choices this year and considering voting for a third party now feel. Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson recently revealed himself to be clueless on one of the most important issues of our time.

Johnson is desperate to get to 15 percent in the polls so he can participate in the presidential debates (the first is on Sept. 26). So, he broke the hearts of many who viewed him as a viable option when he answered a query about war-torn Aleppo, Syria, where refugees are trying to escape to other nations.

Proving that ingesting large quantities of pot might not be the ideal preparation for a presidential run, Johnson replied to a question about his solution to the crisis in Aleppo with, “What is Aleppo?”

Hello? Our next president should be familiar with that city, and its situation and implications for us. But the sad truth is, Johnson isn’t alone in his ignorance.

Donald Trump continues to reassure us about Russian President Vladimir Putin’s intentions, saying his pal Putin “is not going into Ukraine, all right? You can mark it down!”

When Trump promised this, Putin had already stormed into Ukraine.

Just as you’d want to trust the knowledge and ability of your car mechanic or surgeon before engaging their services, shouldn’t you seek the same level of comfort in the person to whom you are about to turn over the nuclear codes?

But this year’s candidates are not making it easy. Even Hillary Clinton, who usually comes across as the know-it-all nerd in the class, recently vowed that, “We are not putting ground troops into Iraq ever again.” More than 4,600 troops are already stationed there.

So on Sept. 26, let’s see debate moderator Lester Holt pin the candidates down on basic facts and issues, and not let them squirm out of answering. Trump wants to dump Obamacare and Clinton wants to enhance it — but where are their specific plans? How will they deal with growing U.S. income inequality?

And yes, what will they do about Aleppo?

Playwright Mike Vogel blogs at newyorkgritty.net.