This weekend I looked at the rather silly fight going on over Time Magazine’s annual Person of the Year award and some of the fallout from President Trump basically outing their selection process. This morning I received their regular email offering the headlines of the day and found that the public voting segment of the process has begun. It’s too soon to say whether or not they’ll wind up picking Trump anyway (as I said on Saturday, my money is against it because they almost never feature the U.S. President twice in a row), but some of the other names on the list are sure to raise some eyebrows.
Since 1927, TIME Magazine has chosen a “Person of the Year,” defined as a person (or people) who has had the most influence over the news in the last 12 months.
In 2016, the Person of the Year was Donald J. Trump, who upended the political world after unexpectedly defeating his Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton to become the President of the United States. The year before, German Chancellor Angela Merkel was named Person of the Year after she led Europe through a series of political and economic crises…
Many of 2017’s biggest headlines were a reflection of the year that preceded it. After President Trump was inaugurated in January, both the U.S. and the world began adjusting to a new administration and a new President who wanted to undo much of his predecessor’s legacy, whether that meant withdrawing from the Paris Climate Agreement or working to revamp the nation’s healthcare system.
In case you want to save yourself some time, I went through the entire list of 33 choices they’re offering this year and made my own selections, recording most of the names as I went. But we should first point out that Time doesn’t consider the public voting to be binding. In fact, they generally reject it and go with the choice they’ve no doubt already settled on anyway.
So here are some of the names I came across on their list. The first was Trump of course, but he was followed in short order by Angela Merkel, who lost out last year to the President, though she was a reader favorite. Her influence has significantly waned in 2017 so it would be a shock if they picked her. First I’ll pick out a set of names which seem to have something obvious in common. Let’s see if you can guess what it is.
- San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz
- James Comey
- Hillary Clinton
- Jimmy Kimmel
- Maxine Waters
- Bob Mueller
- Susan Collins
Is it just me, or are these all people who have been most famous in 2017 for opposing Donald Trump in one fashion or another? One could see the impact Hillary Clinton had last year, but since January the only things she’s really known for is complaining about the President. And Maxine Waters? Seriously? She’s in contention for being one of the most influential people in the world? She’s done nothing of note that I can recall aside from insulting Donald Trump and calling for his impeachment since the day he took office. And aside from sad people who spend their days watching cable news for a living (ahem) and, statistically speaking, probably 37% of the people in her district, who has even heard of her? If she makes the list you might as well put Tom Steyer on there. At least he influenced the last election by injecting more money into politics than any other single person and probably did the same this year.
Moving on, there are some pop culture or social justice figures and “group awards” in the mix.
- Ariana Grande
- Colin Kaepernick
- “The Dreamers”
- Emma Stone
- Jemele Hill
- Patti Jenkins (Wonder Woman director)
- Rose McGowan
- Serena Williams
- Taylor Swift
That’s another questionable group at best. I can definitely see #MeToo getting the nod, or even “The Dreamers” if they’re seriously looking to stick it to Trump. Other than that… who knows?
The majority of the rest of the list is rounded out by various world leaders, American political figures and industrialists.
- Emmanuel Macron
- Kim Jong-un
- Lisa Murkowski
- Mark Zuckerberg
- Mohammed bin Salman
- Pope Francis
- Steve Bannon
- John McCain
- Vladimir Putin
- Xi Jinping
Macron has sort of inherited the crown in the EU (or at least did briefly) from Merkel so I suppose he could be in the running. Kim Jong-un is definitely a contender in terms of influencing the entire planet this year. (Keep in mind that Time regularly selects some “anti-heroes.” In fact, one of their first winners was Hitler.) Putin and Xi Jinping were also quite influential this year.
Here’s the interesting bit, at least for me. When you go through and make your selections in their voting process, the application shows you how well each candidate is doing so far. (Or you can go look at the current results here.) I was probably in there early when not many votes had been cast and it’s already changed by now, but the only person scoring above 50% when I did it was Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who I wrote about earlier this morning. He’s running out of time to be the most influential person for 2017 so I think he’s unlikely to win. But if he keeps going the way he’s started and gets an actual Arab Spring in motion against terrorism in the Sunni world, he may well be taking top honors in 2018.
Anyway go cast your own votes if you care to. I’m sure we’ll all find reasons to hate the eventual winner in any event.