Time magazine has selected president-elect Donald Trump for their annual Person of the Year cover issue. This is a good choice because he won. That’s pretty simple logic but it is much more complex when you dive into things.
For now, let’s appreciate that Trump won the nomination when few said he would. Then he won the November election when few said he would. The media was against him and working behind the scenes with his opponent Hillary Clinton. He was out fund-raised and outspent by large margins. And there was a degree of inevitability to the election of Clinton, who had been running for president, really for the last sixteen years, but definitely for the last eight years. All of this set the stage for fireworks at Clinton’s victory party. But those fireworks were canceled.
Of course Time magazine can’t be too congratulatory. On the cover they identify Trump as the “President Of The Divided States of America.” Fair in that he lost the popular vote, but the popular vote doesn’t declare the winner. A more appropriate text for the cover would read “Another Populist Wins The White House.” Eight years ago Barack Obama swept in on populist whims, promising the same thing that Trump promised. From Obama’s 2008 acceptance speech on winning the Democrat’s nomination; “The fundamentals we use to measure economic strength are whether we are living up to that fundamental promise that has made this country great – a promise that is the only reason I am standing here tonight.” This cycle the message was the same but it was packaged a little differently, this time in the form of hats that read “Make America Great Again.”
When populism won eight years ago Time selected the populist who won when they named Barack Obama Person of the Year for 2008. They chose the winning populist again this year (keep in mind Time recently reported one of the Jenners “totally carb-loaded”). Populism won again and Time has accurately captured that phenomenon