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Trump not only won the 2016 presidential election in an upset victory that thwarted expert predictions and predictive analytics models, he dominated countless headlines and saturated the psyche of the American public with his unconventional, controversial, and—at least for the 65.5 million people who voted for his Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton—offensive campaign for the frustrated hearts and minds of the American people.
“For all of Trump’s public life, tastemakers and intellectuals have dismissed him as a vulgarian and carnival barker, a showman with big flash and little substance,” writes Michael Sherer in his Time Person of the Year profile of Trump. “But what those critics never understood was that their disdain gave him strength. For years, he fed off the disrespect and used it to grab more tabloid headlines, to connect to common people. Now he has upended the leadership of both major political parties and effectively shifted the political direction of the international order.”
In an interview with the Today show, Trump said being named Time‘s Person of the Year was a “tremendous honor,” but he took issue with the magazine describing him on the cover as “President of the Divided States of America.”
“I think putting ‘divided’ is snarky,” Trump said. “I didn’t do anything to divide.”
Coming in at number two on Time‘s list is Clinton, who won the national popular vote by 2.67 million votes but lost the Electoral College vote to Trump. Time‘s profile on Clinton, whom many believed would be the first female U.S. president, focuses on the gender divide that permeated discussion of the 2016 election but ultimately had less impact than many believed it would.
Capping off Time‘s top three is “the hackers”—those nameless troublemakers who breached everything from AdultFriendFinder and Yahoo to the Democratic National Committee and Clinton’s campaign. Large batches of emails leaked from the latter two—allegedly by Russian government-linked hackers—and published primarily by WikiLeaks played a major role in generating opposition to Clinton.
Read the full Person of the Year list at Time.
Andrew Couts is the former editor of Layer 8, a section dedicated to the intersection of the Internet and the state—and the gaps in between. Prior to the Daily Dot, Couts served as features editor and features writer for Digital Trends, associate editor of TheWeek.com, and associate editor at Maxim magazine. When he’s not working, Couts can be found hiking with his German shepherds or blasting around on motorcycles.