US & Canada

Trump election: What previous also-rans did after losing the race

Hillary Clinton walks from the stage after speaking to the Childrens's Defense Fund in Washington, U.S., 16 November 2016 Image copyright Reuters
Image caption What happens after a political exit?

So you lost the US presidential election, perhaps against expectations. Then what? Hillary Clinton said she would like to curl up with a book but would fight on. What have previous also-rans done after losing the biggest race in their lives?


Mitt Romney

Image copyright AP

The first Mormon to receive the Republican Party's nomination in 2012, the businessman and politician was defeated by Barack Obama in 2012.

He initially kept a low profile and went back into the business world he had come from, joining the board of Marriott International as a director.

However, he returned to the political scene as a Republican campaigner and fundraiser and considered, then rejected, standing in the 2016 presidential election.


John Kerry

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Image caption John Kerry (left) with President Obama, whose Secretary of State he still is

After narrowly losing the 2004 election to Republican incumbent George W Bush, he remained a senator.

He was eventually made secretary of state in 2013, replacing Mrs Clinton.


Al Gore

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After serving as vice-president under President Bill Clinton in 1992 and 1996, he lost to George W Bush after a cliff-hanger election in 2000, involving a recount in Florida which was ruled unconstitutional by the US Supreme Court. The decision led to George W Bush winning the election in Florida by 537 votes, and nationwide by just one Electoral College vote.

Mr Gore turned to environmental issues, founding the The Alliance for Climate Protection, which encourages civic action against climate change.

His documentary An Inconvenient Truth was a critical and box-office success. He received the Nobel Peace Prize for his environmental work (with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) in 2007.

Gore appeals to UK over climate change


Bob Dole

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As the oldest first-time presidential candidate, he lost the 1996 election against the incumbent, Mr Clinton.

He worked part-time for a law firm in Washington DC, then engaged in a career of writing and television appearances.

He has been a commercial spokesman for products like Viagra, Visa, Dunkin' Donuts and Pepsi-Cola. He made regular appearances on Larry King Live, The Daily Show, and 60 Minutes. He has written several books, including one on jokes told by US presidents.


Henry Clay (1777-1852)

Image copyright Google

Not one to give up easily, he turned into a career presidential candidate losing elections three times. He also sought and failed to get his party's nomination twice.

Away from his burning but never fulfilled desire to hold the country's highest office, he fared well in politics, serving three consecutive terms as speaker of the House, and as secretary of state.


Aaron Burr (1756-1836)

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Image caption Re-enactment of the 1804 duel between Aaron Burr (represented by a descendant, in blue) and Alexander Hamilton

One of the more colourful presidential candidates the US has had, he lost the 1800 election to Thomas Jefferson.

However, at that time the person with the second most votes was elected vice-president, a post he held for the next four years.

He went on to kill another political opponent, Alexander Hamilton, in a duel; was tried for treason for plotting to create a new republic; fled to Europe; and returned to New York to practise law.

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