Time Magazine Names Joe Biden and Kamala Harris 2020’s People of the Year

Every year since 1927, Time Magazine has selected one person, group, concept, or movement to be given the honor of Person of the Year. Before announcing 2020’s honorees, Time Ceo and Editor-in-Chief Edward Felsenthal went on TODAY to announce the magazine’s shortlist. The top four contenders for the honor were:

  1. President-Elect Joe Biden
    1. Felsenthal said Biden was considered for his “Historic win and his [receiving] more popular votes than any president in history.” He credited the President-elect for his “very different message [than we’ve seen the past four years] emphasizing empathy and unity.”
  2. President Donald Trump
    1. This would have been the president’s second Person of the Year reception, having also been named in 2016. Felsenthal said in regards to the consideration of Trump for 2020, “He wasn’t re-elected but he’s not going away. He’s still very much in control of the Republican Party, he’s changed the norms of campaigning from the white house, as he’s changed so many norms throughout his term.” The Time CEO continued, insinuating that the consideration of the president was not made in honorary terms, saying, “He’s had a huge influence, for better or for worse, as we say with person of the year.”
  3. The Movement for Racial Justice
    1. Felsenthal called the nomination of the Movement for Racial Justice obvious, saying, “Well, this was just an incredibly important story… [the movement] galvanized, by some measures, the largest mass protests in US history.” Citing the killings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, Felsenthal commended the movement for “demanding the world step up- the country step up -[to] stop making excuses about racism and systemic racism.”
  4. Dr. Anthony Fauci and the  Front Line Health Workers
    1. Calling COVID-19 “a once in a century story” Felsenthal pointed out the pandemic’s overwhelming influence on the world, saying, “[the pandemic affected] every single person on the globe in some way.” Felsenthal also took a jab at the Trump administration’s  disregard for expert medical advisories, thanking Dr. Fauci for “standing up for science at a time when science really needed to be stood up for.”

On the night of December 10th, the same day the shortlist was revealed, Time announced that they were honoring President-Elect Joe Biden and Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris as 2020’s People of the Year.

Every elected president since FDR, again, including President Trump in 2016, has been named Person of the Year at some point in their term, yet this is the first time a Vice President has also been given the honor. Charlotte Alter wrote in her Time article for the announcement, “ The Vice President has never before been a woman, or Black, or Asian American. Together, [Biden and Harris] offered restoration and renewal in a single ticket. And America bought what they were selling”

Felsenthal concluded his statement about the magazine’s yearly honor saying, “Person of the Year is not just about the year that was, but about where we’re headed, and the next four years are going to be an important test for [Biden and Harris] and all of us to see whether or not they can bring about the unity they promised.”

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