Since the 2016 election, where Hillary Clinton lost out on the US presidency to Donald Trump, the ex-first lady and Secretary of State, has been living life away from the political limelight. However, despite it appearing that Clinton has opted for a more quiet life with husband and 42nd US president Bill – she’s actually been working on numerous projects behind the scenes and is showing no sign of slowing down. With reports emerging that Hillary Clinton may be planning a return to US politics, it’s a good time to catch up on what she’s been doing since 2016.
Where is the former first lady now?
As of January 2022, Hillary Clinton continues to reside in her New York home with husband Bill Clinton. They are based in the small town of Chappaqua, a north New York hamlet known for its wealthy residents seeking a peaceful refuge from the hustle and bustle of city life. The Clinton family initially moved to Chappaqua after Bill Clinton’s controversial presidency, no doubt finding solace in the area’s green woodland surroundings.
It also comes as no surprise that Hillary retreated to their Chappaqua home after losing the 2016 election to Donald Trump. The home sits on 1.1 acres of land and features a swimming pool and converted barn – where Bill Clinton famously wrote his portfolio of books after his presidency. However, this is just one of Hillary Clinton’s three luxury residencies.
The Clintons’ New York base means that Hillary can often be spotted making an appearance at important events in the city, such as the 20th-anniversary commemoration of the 9/11 terrorist attacks at Manhattan’s Ground Zero in September 2021.
However, Hillary has also been busy across the pond in the UK, taking the role of 11th chancellor at Queen’s University Belfast. She also appeared in conversation at Cambridge University with professor and British television personality Mary Beard in September 2021. The event featured her and her daughter Chelsea Clinton discussing recent stories from across the world that have captured their interest and their work with their production company HiddenLight.
The 2016 turning point
When Hillary conceded the presidential election in 2016, she immediately departed from her concession speech in Manhattan to her home in Chappaqua, New York. In her memoir ‘What Happened,’ she recalled that “the sight of our front gate was pure relief to me” and that all she wanted to do was “get inside, change into comfy clothes, and maybe not answer the phone ever again.” It appeared to be a turning point in Hillary’s life and career, leading to a change in her professional direction – but not immediately.
What followed that moment in 2016 was almost a year of radio silence. Clinton was rarely spotted outside, seldom making headlines, and definitely not speaking out. Many speculated that this was the end of her public-facing career, until she released her memoir ‘What Happened’ in September 2017. The book addresses Clinton’s experiences as a Democratic Party nominee and presidential candidate and where she thought it might have gone wrong for her and the party. It seemed as though the book served as convalescence for Clinton, with her returning to public life and finding new feet with her career ever since.
What has Hillary Clinton done since the 2016 election?
An Evening with The Clintons
In 2018 and 2019, Hillary Clinton went on a 13-stop tour across the USA to headline a series of live events called ‘An Evening with The Clintons’. The tour, which Hillary embarked on alongside husband Bill, was billed as a “one-of-a-kind conversation with two individuals who have helped shape our world and had a front seat to some of the most important moments in modern history.” The tour stopped off at Nevada, Texas, California, Michigan, Washington, New York and Pennsylvania and traveled up to British Colombia and Montreal. Despite the tour being marketed as a chance for fans to engage in “intimate conversation” with the politicians, many of the live shows took place in large arenas.
Dealt with a pipe bomb sent to her D.C. home
Despite doing her best to stay out of US politics, Hillary was sent a package containing a pipe bomb in the lead up to the 2018 midterm elections. The pipe bomb was mailed to her D.C. address in addition to a plethora of other famous democrats, including Barack Obama, Joe Biden, and even Robert De Niro. The packages were sent by a Florida man who believed that enemies of Donald Trump were trying to hurt him and those that support him. Fortunately, none of the packages exploded or caused any damage. However, the culprit did face sentencing for the disruption and panic caused.
The Book of Gutsy Women: Favorite Stories of Courage and Resilience
In October 2019, Hillary Clinton worked with her daughter Chelsea to release the book ‘The Book of Gutsy Women: Favorite Stories of Courage and Resilience.’ The book presented stories of different – often overlooked – women throughout history that have inspired the pair of them in their life and careers.
While promoting the book, Hillary explained that her inspiration behind it was the lack of famous female role models in her life growing up. Her childhood search for inspirational women who worked outside the home often led her to look to her own mother, teachers, and ‘Life’ magazine pages. In said pages, she once learned that Amelia Earhart had a scrapbook full of successful women in male-dominated jobs, and so young Hillary began a similar scrapbook of her own. This book followed the idea of learning about exceptional women who have redefined what is possible.
In 2020, Hillary took part in a documentary film based on her life. The documentary, simply entitled ‘Hillary,’ premiered at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival and later was streamed as a four-part documentary series on Hulu. One of the most notable aspects of the Nanette Bernstein-directed documentary was the frankness with which Clinton finally opened up and spoke publicly about her husband Bill’s sex scandal with Monica Lewinsky. Bernstein noted, “she definitely opened up more about her marriage than I expected her to,” continuing, “both the good and the bad. I think it was difficult for her, but she did do it”.
You and Me Both
Also, in 2020, following the theme of opening up and speaking out, Hillary Clinton launched a podcast in collaboration with iHeartRadio, which was titled ‘You and Me Both.’ The podcast involves Hillary sitting down with people she admires or is interested in to engage in candid, open, and in-depth discussion. The themes of these discussions have included everything from faith and cooking tips to frank political discussion and debate. The podcast has proven popular with followers of politics, the Democratic Party, and fans of the Clinton family themselves. Clinton also featured a range of fascinating guests in the series, such as James Corden, Amanda Gorman, and Nancy Pelosi.
Clinton featured on the 2020 Democratic slate of electors for the state of New York
The US Electoral College system works because instead of Americans casting their votes directly for the President, Americans are instead voting for 538 electors in their respective states. These electors then meet in their states to vote for the President and Vice President. Despite Hillary Clinton previously speaking out to denounce the Electoral College – arguing instead that the President should be decided based on the US popular vote – she announced in October 2020 that she would be an elector for New York. She also said she would be using her position to vote for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, which she noted was “pretty exciting.”
State of Terror
In October 2021, Hillary Clinton released her debut fiction novel, entitled ‘State of Terror,’ in collaboration with mystery writer Louise Penny. The book was described as a political thriller, undoubtedly inspired by Clinton’s own experiences in politics during the War on Terror. The novel, set in the present-day United States, follows female protagonist Ellen Adams as she is inducted into the US President’s cabinet as Secretary of State. The fast-paced plot thickens as Ellen finds herself unraveling a terror conspiracy involving Afghanistan, Iran, and Pakistan. Clinton’s first foray into fiction represents her ambition to tell stories that will influence beyond her political career, leaving a more accessible public legacy.
Helping women amid the Afghanistan withdrawal crisis
In 2021, the withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan led to an evacuation crisis that was widely reported. Once the Taliban took over Afghanistan’s major cities, dramatic footage showed thousands of people at Kabul airport attempting to escape. Hillary Clinton had already warned of the “huge consequences” of withdrawing US troops back in May, and once the chaos ensued, it was reported that Clinton was working quickly to help at-risk women leave the country. Clinton, well acquainted with the Middle Eastern conflicts after her time as Secretary of State, turned her hand to the women that would be Taliban targets once US troops left in August. She attempted to arrange chartered flights for these women and publicly vocalised her concern for Afghan women and girls and advocated for their protection.
Hillary Clinton hit the headlines once again in 2020 with the news that she and her daughter Chelsea were cofounding a production company called HiddenLight Productions. The project was born out of their close relationship with filmmaker Sam Branson, and their passion for telling stories about inspirational people. Their first production will be an Apple TV series based on their book Gutsy Women, with Clinton commenting, “I believe telling the stories of people who defy the odds and march forward will inspire others to do the same.”
It has become a popular move for public figures to create their own production stories and influence the stories being told globally. For instance, Barack and Michelle Obama announced their own production company called Higher Ground in 2018. As for what audiences expect from Clinton’s HiddenLight in the long term, the company secured the rights to Gayle Tzemach Lemmon’s ‘The Daughters of Kobani’ in early 2021 set to be a TV series. The story follows an all-women Kurdish militia fighting ISIS in North Syria, so it isn’t far from Clinton’s area of interest and experience.
What can we expect from Hillary Clinton in 2022 and beyond?
Despite the long list of things Hillary Clinton has done since conceding the 2016 election, she has continued to do much of it out of the spotlight of politics and the Democratic party. However, after years spent keeping a lower profile, 2022 has seen Hillary and Bill appear to ease themselves closer to the front lines of their party.
Current polls, predictions, and events have seen the Democrats on course for significant losses at the midterms – which is usually a time when the elder statesmen of the party begin to step in. Many sources have claimed that Hillary and Bill Clinton have seen this as a prime opportunity to reinsert themselves in the public-facing realms of politics. Both of the Clintons are well established as highly efficient dealmakers, which could come in useful when divisions are at large across the country. It has also been rumored that the pair will be resurrecting their annual Clinton Global Initiative conference, which ended swiftly after Hillary’s loss in 2016.
It may be easy to assume that the years since 2016 were quiet for Hillary Clinton, but take a closer look at everything she has done since, and it’s clear that the once first lady and Secretary of State is still hard at work – and showing no sign of slowing down. After some time out of the spotlight after conceding to Donald Trump, Clinton has made moves to develop large projects outside of politics while still advocating for the causes she cares about deeply.
However, with public appearances increasing in recent months, it seems like involvement with the political front lines may still be on the cards for Hillary. Whether she chooses to run for 2024 office or play a part behind the scenes, it’s clear that it will be a team effort alongside husband Bill.