For TIME Magazine’s 2020 Person of the Year issue, four candidates made it to the shortlist: Joe Biden, Donald Trump, frontline health care workers and Dr. Anthony Fauci, and the movement for racial justice otherwise known as the Black Lives Matter. But after much debate, late last night, the final reveal showed that President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris were ultimately chosen as the winners.
Every year, TIME features and profiles a person, group, idea, or object for Person of the Year that "for better or for worse has done the most to influence the events of the year.” The tradition was started in 1927, and the winner is usually one individual but sometimes multiple people or a movement who greatly impacted the country. Recent winners have included Greta Thunberg in 2019 for her environmental activism, and “The Guardians” — or journalists working to defend truth — in 2018.
It is, perhaps, no surprise to many that Biden and Harris were this year's selection. When Biden beat Donald Trump in the election, their ticket made history in many ways: They racked up 81 million votes, the most in presidential history; and Harris is about to become the United State’s first Black woman and first South Asian vice president-elect. But perhaps most importantly, the duo ousted one of the most hated presidents of all time. "For changing the American story, for showing that the forces of empathy are greater than the furies of division, for sharing a vision of healing in a grieving world, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris are TIME's 2020 Person of the Year," TIME editor-in-chief Edward Felsenthal wrote.
While many people were not thrilled to even see Trump’s face on the shortlist, there was some other confusion and annoyance over the picks — including the decision to use Black Lives Matter as a movement at large rather than nominate George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, or specific people whose lives spurred conversations and action this year. Or, why Fauci didn’t get more recognition.
“I mean, Fauci's pretty obviously the *actual* person of the year, right? No offense to Biden/Harris, but ‘leadership’ doesn't just mean winning an election. Fauci was unknown to most Americans and became THE stabilizing/omnipresent voice in the midst of mass chaos/misinfo,” tweeted Clare Malone, a political journalist.
“George Floyd's murder brought a record number of people out to protest against police brutality and racism. It would have been inspiring to have him named as Person of the Year,” said New York Times writer Wajahat Ali. Fauci, the frontline workers, and organizers working against police violence and for Black lives were ultimately named Guardian of the Year instead.
The cover of the 2020 Person of the Year issue shows President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Harris looking off-camera, signifying looking towards the future and a new administration. In their interviews with TIME, they each described their plans for the future, hopes of doing a better job than the Trump Administration in taking care of the pandemic, and more. Neither Biden or Harris have made statements yet about being honored for the issue since they were revealed as the winners last night.