Iowa Democrats showed on Tuesday night that they are far from convinced that Hillary Clinton should be president.
As Donald Trump was handily beaten by Sen. Ted Cruz on the Republican side of the ledger, and was in danger of being pushed into third place by Sen. Marco Rubio, Clinton found herself deadlocked with 74-year-old socialist Bernie Sanders.
The race was close enough that neither could declare victory outright. Clinton's most noteworthy remark was that she was "breathing a sigh of relief."
She blew a 50-point lead in the Hawkeye State against an elderly extremist whom the Democratic establishment see as far from an ideal champion of American progressivism.
Even so, the result shows that half of Iowa Democrats continue to delude themselves about Clinton's strength as a candidate. Thanks to their party's own propaganda, they seem to believe Clinton is merely the victim of Republican attacks. Yet Clinton trails both Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio in Iowa, a state that Barack Obama carried in the last two general elections. There is a reason for this.
Clinton's problems go much deeper than her political opponents, the media, or her primary challenger. She has a tenuous and frequently broken relationship with the truth, and it's hard to be enthusiastic about someone who has been caught lying about so many things in just the last few months.
Clinton's speaking fees and foundation scandals are sure to haunt her throughout this year. But for the moment, the issue is her careless handling of classified information. It occurred solely because of her characteristically self-serving behavior in office, and she has repeatedly offered false explanations and excuses for it.
Clinton made the choice to put herself above the rules that apply to all government employees. She withheld her work communications illegally from the State Department, some of them for as long as five years. She used an unsecured private server for the entire time of her service in the Obama cabinet, which is unprecedented.
She finally turned over all of her old emails, property of the government, when they were demanded of her years later. She promised that she had not emailed any classified information.
That too turned out to be false, as Americans learned months ago. But last Friday, it was revealed that Clinton had not just sent any old classified information. She actually sent at least 22 emails containing information that is classified "Top Secret" and cannot therefore be released as public documents. Think of that; the leading Democratic candidate for the presidency recklessly, deliberatly and systematically exposed information so sensitive that not one word can be released for public viewing.
On Monday, Fox News reported new details on the nature of the top secret information that Clinton compromised by using unsecured channels to transmit it. These emails contained highly classified "operational intelligence," and the Clinton breach may have jeopardized "sources, methods and lives." That is to say, people working with and for the U.S. government's interests overseas could have been burned because Clinton didn't want to be embarrassed by Freedom of Information Act requests after she left office.
Clinton's excuse that it wasn't officially marked classified is irrelevant in law, and an insult to the intelligence of the nation. She understood how classified information worked.
Clinton may well win the Democratic nomination. But her supporters in every state have good reason to be unenthusiastic about her, just as Iowans were on Monday night.