Donald Trump Being 'TIME's Person Of The Year Is The Only Predictable Moment Of 2016
In the only predictable moment in all of 2016, TIME Magazine has just named Donald Trump as their Person of the Year. This comes as a surprise to exactly zero people, after a year in which he beat back every prediction to win the presidency. Trump's campaign showered the country with surprise after surprise, to say nothing of the unprecedented and unexpected events that happened internationally, like Brexit. After the rest of 2016, Trump appearing as TIME's Person of the Year is a moment of predictability — even if it's not exactly a comforting one for the millions of people who were dismayed by his rise to power.
Before announcing their decision, TIME published a shortlist of people of the year, but the exercise was a futile one. Anyone paying attention knows that this just wasn't the kind of year where Beyoncé or Simone Biles was going to win the prize; the world saw too many other disruptions for it to be an artist or an athlete, inspiring though they may be. Hillary Clinton would have been the obvious pick in an alternate universe, but we don't live on that version of Earth. Russian president Vladimir Putin might have made sense, but he simply didn't command the world's collective attention the way Trump's did. Trump is the person of the year, and there's no one else who could have gotten that recognition. Finally, something everyone saw coming.
The article describing the choice delves into the forces that the country unknowingly witnessed during the campaign: the dissatisfaction of the lower and middle classes, the grievances that Trump was uniquely able to harness to his advantage. Very few people predicted the effect that those forces would eventually have in the election — but Trump, clearly, did. Or at least he pretended to. Or at least he thought he did. But whatever it was, now the world knows that he was right.
And that's the thing — 2016 has frankly confused millions of people, upending expectations in an unprecedented way. The polls failed with Brexit, which at once mitigated the shock of Trump's victory and multiplied it. People who supported and fought against Trump are all getting used to a world in which he won, a world that so few people expected to see. This was the year that Trump understood, the year that Trump was able to take advantage of the way no one else could. Now, that's clear for anyone paying attention, and in the end it was really a done deal: there was simply no one else TIME could give this designation to.