This article was updated on Monday, November 14 at 6:52 p.m.
Hillary Clinton hasn’t made any public appearances since her concession speech midday Wednesday, but she can be spotted in the wild. That’s what happened to Margo Gerster, a dispirited Hillary supporter when she was hiking with her daughter to cheer herself up near Chappaqua, New York. Gerster heard a rustling and out of the woods came Hillary and Bill Clinton and their dogs.
You may have to count on a chance encounter like this one to see Clinton. She’s unlikely to be much in the public eye over the next months. And she may need the rest after an exhausting and savage campaign that resulted in a verdict her supporters didn’t predict. Although Clinton carried the popular vote on Election Day, the Electoral College delivered a decisive victory to Donald Trump. The so-called Blue Wall states that went for Trump (Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin) exposed embarrassing cracks in the Democrats’ campaign strategy. Add to that the humiliation of having to concede a campaign for the presidency for a second time in 8 years. Hillary Clinton is done.
And yet. There’s a possibility for Clinton to achieve a status that eluded her during the campaign, and over her last 30 years in public life. If elected president, Clinton would have moved into the White House and had to unpack years of baggage—emails, her husband’s scandals, “super predators,” Benghazi—and then deal with the grueling and unpredictable politics of the next four years. That’s a lot to fit in the Resolute desk. But in defeat, that matters less. Her place in American culture is suddenly very different. Hillary Clinton’s transgressions may be largely forgiven by her supporters and largely forgotten by the public.