It has been three weeks since Hillary Clinton conceded the U.S. presidential election to Donald Trump – and what a three weeks it has been. Hillary supporters are beginning to recover from the shocking defeat, taking to the streets to protest and, as Lena Dunham said, organizing, rather than agonizing. But what of Hillary herself? After the Wisconsin recount, what will Hillary do next?
Clinton gave a speech at the annual Children’s Defense Fund gala, a commitment she’d agreed to before the election. In all likelihood, she imagined giving the speech as the newly elected president, glass ceiling shatterer, the person to give the U.S. its first female president. But that didn’t happen. Instead, Hillary spoke candidly about not wanting to leave the house, about curling up with a good book and her dogs. “Coming here tonight wasn’t the easiest thing,” she told the gala’s guests.
It’s still early, so we can forgive Hillary for retreating in an attempt to recover from the raw wounds inflicted by the election campaign and result. That said, many are now wondering what she will choose to do next.
In an interview with Zach Galifianakis in September, Hillary told the host that if she lost the election, she’d stay in the U.S. to try to prevent Donald Trump from ruining the country. Whether she does this inside politics is yet to be seen. She remains a figure of respect among Democrats, but may feel that she can do more from outside the world of politics.
The Clinton Foundation could be where Hillary decides to focus her efforts. Set up in 1997, the foundation has many charitable focuses and might be a fitting place for Hillary to focus her energies once she feels able. It might also be that she takes on a campaigning or consultation role in another charity or human rights organization, focusing her efforts on protecting areas she cares about, like women’s rights or disadvantaged children.
Another autobiography could be in the cards, too – Hillary published Living History in 2004, It Takes a Village in 2007, and Hard Choices in 2015. Needless to say, plenty has happened since then, and there’s more than enough material for a fourth book. We predict a bidding war like no other when it comes.
Like most towering political figures that came before her, Hillary may increase her presence on the corporate speech circuit, raking in millions of dollars. Trump attacked here during the election campaign for being paid $200,000 an hour to speak to Goldman Sachs execs (the hypocrisy knows no bounds) and this may be an avenue she chooses to pursue.
“Whisper it” in 2020. Hillary could run for President again. She will be 73, which means that if she were to win, she would be the oldest person ever elected to a first term. Unlikely, but not beyond the realm of possibility. It remains to be seen whether she’d be able to secure the Democrats’ nomination, though.
But no one could blame Hillary for retreating from the public eye altogether – she has made no secret of her love for her family: husband Bill, daughter Chelsea, son-in-law Marc Mezvinsky, and grandchildren Charlotte and Aidan. Perhaps she’ll indulge in being a grandmother, helping to raise her grandchildren in an ever more fearful world.
Whatever Hillary chooses to do, I hope history will remember her as an incredible Secretary of State, the first woman to win the popular vote in a U.S. election, and as a woman who fought for society’s most vulnerable. Or, maybe, just maybe, come 2020, the oldest person elected to a first term as U.S. president. As the past three weeks have shown, anything is possible.
About the Author
Cyan Turan is a featured writer for Hearst Magazine in the United Kingdom. She also writes for numerous newspapers and websites and is in the process of publishing her first book.