Time Magazine released its Person of the Year award today, and it wasn’t Hillary Clinton. Instead the magazine acknowledged the single biggest news-maker of 2016, President-elect Donald Trump. Reports from Time’s selection committee described a close contest, but Hillary is, again, the runner-up.
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“Winners get to write history,” Charlotte Alter, who writes about politics for Time, said of the Trump victory. “Losers, if they are lucky, get a ballad.”
Alter’s view on the election was equally concise. Clinton was, in Alter’s view, a “female candidate in an election that didn’t hinge on gender after all. [Clinton] became a symbol in a fight that was about much more than symbolism.”
While some are dwelling on Clinton’s second loss to Donald Trump and the symbolism it presents, others are more congratulatory of Time’s selection.
“I don’t think that we have ever seen one person, operating in such an unconventional way, have an impact on the events of the year,” Time editor Nancy Gibbs told CNN.
While others called it a close race, Gibbs said this was “one of the more straightforward years.” She also noted that Time’s Person of the Year isn’t meant as a popularity contest, but more of an open acknowledgement of the year’s biggest news-maker–even if the news being made isn’t good.
In past years, the covers have been graced by a wide variety of notable and infamous individuals like Adolf Hitler, Ayatollah Khomeini, and Pope Francis.
Trump called the title a “very, very great honor. […] It means a lot, especially me growing up reading Time magazine, and you know, it’s a very important magazine, and I’ve been lucky enough to be on the cover many times this year,” he said on NBC.
He has appeared on the magazine’s cover twice this year, once in an illustration with the title “Meltdown” and another Time called “Total meltdown.”
“It’s hard to measure the scale of his disruption,” Gibbs wrote in Time’s article on Trump. “So which is it this year: Better or worse? The challenge for Donald Trump is how profoundly the country disagrees about the answer.”