Dec 11, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Joe Biden and Kamala Harris named Time's 2020 Person of the Year

TIME cover
Via Time.

President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris have been named Time magazine's 2020 Person of the Year, finishing ahead of finalists that included President Trump, frontline health workers and Anthony Fauci, and the racial-justice movement.

Why it matters: Time has picked a Person of the Year every year since 1927, usually selecting "an individual but sometimes multiple people who greatly impacted the country and world during the calendar year."

Flashback: The previous four winners of Time's Person of the Year — which is viewed as a recognition, not necessarily an honor — are Greta Thunberg (2019), the Guardians (2018), the Silence Breakers, and Donald Trump (2016).

Excerpts:

  • "All new Presidents inherit messes from their predecessors, but Biden is the first to have to think about literally decontaminating the White House. Combatting the pandemic is only the start of the challenge, at home and abroad," Time's Charlotte Alter writes in a 6,500 word profile.
  • "There are alliances to rebuild, a stimulus package to pass, a government to staff. Biden’s advisers are preparing a slew of Executive Orders: restoring the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals immigration program, rejoining the Paris Agreement, reversing the so-called Muslim ban and more. Biden’s “Build Back Better” plan aims to revitalize the virus-wracked economy—which some analysts say is unlikely to fully recover until 2023—by investing in infrastructure, education and childcare."
  • “I think if my plan is able to be implemented,” Biden told Time. "It’s gonna go down as one of the most progressive administrations in American history.”

The bottom line: "Together, they offered restoration and renewal in a single ticket. And America bought what they were selling: after the highest turnout in a century, they racked up 81 million votes and counting, the most in presidential history, topping Trump by some 7 million votes and flipping five battleground states."

Go deeper: Read the Time editor-in-chief's explanation for the decision

Go deeper