I know what Hillary Clinton should do next. She should host a reality TV show.
Hear me out. “Are You America’s First Female President?” would be a weekly, hour-long program hosted by our girl Hill and a crew of her favorite lady politicians and operatives. Think Michelle Obama, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Elizabeth Warren offering advice and feedback to the next generation of activists and organizers. Imagine Robby Mook talking how to build a campaign staff, and Sarah McBride on being an effective surrogate.
Each episode would have a different challenge to boost the cast’s presidential skills: drafting legislation, wrangling congressional support, writing their State of the Union address, practicing interviews and debates. The contestants would be women, non-binary and trans folks from diverse backgrounds. No one gets eliminated and no one goes home: the winners of each challenge get a vote, and whoever has the most votes at the end of the show wins a donation put toward their future campaign. But everyone leaves with a mentor matched to their specific goals and needs, and a fierce crew of fellow cast members to strategize with and support for the rest of their careers.
Okay, okay, yes: reality TV is what gave us Donald Trump. Reality TV is for falling in love with your four-month financé and starting up a line of beauty products to shill on Instagram. But reality TV is also accessible and popular. Reality TV plays a huge role in shaping our culture and it’s about damn time we harness that influence for good. “Are You America’s First Female President?” would normalize women in leadership positions, increase the visibility of young, non-dude politicians, and offer free training to millions of viewers at home. Little girls would watch with their parents — and their brothers — as women who look just like them engage in some healthy competition and education. They would watch women strive and fail and learn and succeed, teaching resilience and strength. A new kind of role model would be born.
And look, we need Hillary Clinton right now. I fully support her becoming one with the woods for as long as she needs the solitude and self-care, but we can’t have the first female candidate for president disappear into obscurity during the most toxically misogynist presidency of our lifetimes. We need her present and active in the role she was born to play: if not our first female president, than the woman who taught us such things were so fucking close but need to be fought for. History might show that Hillary’s longest legacy will be in inspiring the women who come next, who shook off the terror and disappointment of Wednesday November 9th, 2016 and decided to follow in her footsteps because if it’s not her, then maybe it could be them. Maybe it should be them.
I hate to demand anything more from Hillary, a woman who gave us everything she had and didn’t get enough in return when it mattered most. But we need this of her too: we need her guidance and her awkward, goofy, pantsuit-wearing light. Most of all, we need that bitch reading her Blackberry through her sunglasses. We really, really need that bitch. Reality TV host Hillary Clinton doesn’t need to be palatable: she needs to be powerful.
“Are You America’s First Female President?” would also drive Donald Trump insane, which is incredibly worth it. Let’s give him another program to live-tweet, because Alec Baldwin is not the hero America needs right now. Let’s give Donald every opportunity to reveal his slimy, sexist, racist self in 140 characters or less. Let’s distract him from his presidency by forcing him to watch every single week as the next generation of women prepares to fuck him up and fight back. Let’s smile while we do it, smirking through our sweat because we know how to work hard and he doesn’t, speaking through our smeared lipstick as we describe just how we’ll take this country forward. Let’s beat him at his own game.
So please, Hillary, consider this slight career shift. I miss you. I miss your shimmy and your “can you believe this shit” humorless laugh. I miss watching your speeches and interviews and debates, my breath stolen by your grace and intelligence in the face of so much tumult. We all miss you, our broken hearts still beating in our chests loud enough to keep us awake at night. We want to continue this fight for you—we’d love for you to show us how.
And ABC: call me. It’s the only logical conclusion to this fucked up nightmare of an election cycle.