Hillary's path to power required Faustian bargain

Hillary Clinton couldn’t have known in 1998 how her husband’s high-profile philandering would play out. Would he be rehabilitated in the public eye? She couldn’t be sure, but she took the gamble. Had she left the marriage, today she might be the spurned wife of a retired politician instead of on the precipice to lead the free world.

Looking back on the path chosen by the nine political wives profiled in "Why They Stay: Sex Scandals, Deals, and Hidden Agendas of Nine Political Wives," we have the evidence to see a pattern—as old as the dynastic maneuverings of England’s medieval queens. The women married to the “royalty” of our times—politicians—make similar cold calculations in order to hold onto their “thrones” and their family’s history-making potential.

After covering politicians for decades as a reporter and columnist, I switched my gaze to the women behind the cheating men. Drawing from multiple sources that span the Roosevelts’ marriage to the more recent scandal involving Hillary Clinton’s closest aide Huma Abedin (wife of “sexter,” Anthony Weiner), "Why They Stay" argues that when it comes to the “power behind the throne,” women in the limelight weigh the risks and rewards. They remain loyal to their men, because of complex, often unconscious forces.

From mapping a path to power to laudable notions of holding the family together, I examine the uniquely challenging Faustian bargains that political wives grapple with, even as the public spotlight illuminates their every move.

Publishing in March 2017, Why They Stay explores the possible reasoning and motivation behind why political wives stay with their husbands after the husbands cheat. For updates on the book launch, sign up at whytheystaybook.com.