Her Campus Logo Her Campus Logo
Culture > News

I Hate Trump, But I Support the Decision to Name Him TIME Person of the Year

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.​

Donald Trump won TIME’s Person of the Year 2016. Notice that TIME’s annual award isn’t titled “Nicest Person of the Year,” “Most Compassionate Person of the Year,” or “Most Peaceful Person of the Year.” It’s simply “Person of the Year.” The award, given by a news magazine, recognizes the person who most influenced the news. As Nancy Gibbs, managing editor of TIME, explains, the person of the year “had the greatest influence, for better or worse, on the events of the year.” That is why even though I, like many young women, hate Donald Trump, I support TIME’s decision to name him Person of the Year.

From the time he descended the escalator of Trump Tower and made his candidacy official, Donald Trump dominated the news. The greatest complaint among Republicans throughout the primary election? That Trump received more media coverage than the other candidates.

In fact, Donald Trump received over $2 billion in “free media coverage” thanks to how often he appeared on television news. He spent way less on any of the other candidates on paid advertising, because why bother? He didn’t need to pay to get on TV; the media handled that for him. He received more media coverage than Hillary Clinton and Ted Cruz combined, both positive and negative.

My dad was working in Hong Kong the night of the election, and he said that even there, in a country with a completely different language, culture and political climate from the US, every TV was turned on to Donald Trump’s acceptance speech.

So, to say Trump influenced the news most this year would be an understatement. He didn’t just influence our news—he had a starring role in it.

Furthermore, this isn’t the first time a president-elect won the award. Obama won in 2012, and George W. Bush won in 2000 shortly after securing his first term as president, and same with Bill Clinton in 1992. The president-elect of the United States is about to become the world’s most powerful leader, controversial or not, and if that’s not Person of the Year-worthy, I don’t know what is. 

Besides, Trump isn’t the first winner who isn’t all sunshine and rainbows and world peace. Hitler made the list in 1938. Stalin’s on there twice. Only a few years ago, Putin received the title. TIME looks at news coverage quantity, not quality.

Donald Trump isn’t exactly the world’s most-liked guy. I agree! He’s sexist, hateful, and way too eager to fire shots on Twitter. But that doesn’t mean he isn’t greatly influencing our media, culture, and world overall. Ignoring his influence won’t make it go away. 

TIME Magazine editors put careful consideration into who they choose for this award every year. It’s an award we should all pay attention to, as the winner is the person most changing our culture and setting the tone for our world. Instead of getting angry about it, maybe we should ask ourselves, is this the tone we want set, and if not, what can we do to change it? Don’t ignore TIME’s decision. Instead, use it as fuel to change the world we live in.

Colleen Zewe

Saint Mary's '18

I love fall, holidays, PSLs and forcing my dog to take pictures with me for Snapchat.
Iris was the associate editor at Her Campus. She graduated from UCLA with a degree in communications and gender studies, but was born and raised in France with an English mother. She enjoys country music, the color pink and pretending she has her life together. Iris was the style editor and LGBTQ+ editor for HC as an undergrad, and has interned for Cosmopolitan.com and goop. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram @irisgoldsztajn, or check out her writing portfolio here.