Whether we like it or not, the name Donald Trump will likely be ubiquitous for the next four years, because he wouldn’t have it any other way.
Realizing this, TIME magazine named the president-elect its Person of the Year on Wednesday, signaling the challenging days ahead by also calling him “President of the Divided States of America.” Runners up for the POY naming include Trump’s election opponent Hillary Clinton, who may well have taken the title if she had won; “The Hackers,” meaning people who use the Internet to disrupt commerce, media and politics; and Beyoncé, who took an activist stance through the release of her musical and visual experience Lemonade.
TIME’s choice has already rankled the web, with people angry over the magazine choosing such a divisive figure for the person they recognize as the year’s biggest newsmaker.
2016: Person of the Year
2018: Autocrat of the Month
2020: Nuclear Winter Survival Tip Of The Minute
— Kashana (@kashanacauley) December 7, 2016
Of course he’s the person of the year. Only person w/ a bigger effect on 2016 is The Grim Reaper & he wouldn’t sit for a picture. Or did he? pic.twitter.com/PHQ5bcNEt7
— W. Kamau Bell (@wkamaubell) December 7, 2016
— Sarah Burris (@SarahBurris) December 7, 2016
But editors there go through months of monitoring the movements of the people they consider, do extensive research and conduct candid interviews in order to come up with their decision, which is almost always subject to criticism across the board. It is not a popularity contest, but a focus on who the most influential person was through the year, and that person is not always so well-liked. Other POY winners include historic villains like Adolph Hitler (1938), Joseph Stalin (1939, 1942), and Iran’s Ayatollah Khomeni (1979), but also more venerable figures like Ethiopian ruler Haile Selassie (1935), Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. (1963), and President Obama (2008, 2012).
“This is the 90th time we have named the person who had the greatest influence, for better or worse, on the events of the year,” wrote TIME editor-in-chief Nancy Gibbs. “So which is it this year: Better or worse? The challenge for Donald Trump is how profoundly the country disagrees about the answer.”