The Main Contenders
- Emmanuel Macron became the President of France in May of this year. Macron was one of the most popular French presidential candidates for years, and after almost six months in the job that popularity doesn’t seem to have waned. His policies have been heralded as being as good for business as they are for public services, and his pro-EU stance has helped put France centre-stage as the UK negotiates its withdrawal from the union.
- Colin Kaepernick is an American football player who has become a household name worldwide after kneeling during the national anthem as a way of protesting against oppression of ‘black people and people of colour’ in the country. His kneeling protest didn’t go down well with Donald Trump, but that only encouraged other players to follow his example in games across the US.
- Donald Trump was named 2016 Person of the Year thanks to his remarkable rise to the very top of American politics despite having absolutely no political background. His first year as 45th President of the USA has been just as controversial as his journey to that position, which makes him a contender for this year’s title too. Several other presidents have been TIME magazine’s Person of the Year on more than one occasion, but none so far have received that title two years running.
- Angela Merkel was Person of the Year in 2015 thanks to her role in coping with the debt crisis in Greece and the way she handled the European refugee emergency. Merkel is widely viewed as being the unofficial leader of the European Union, and as someone who is helping to stabilise and steer it as Britain negotiates its exit.
- Kim Jong-Un has been even more vocal than usual in the last year, issuing several nuclear-themed threats against South Korea, Japan, the USA and anyone else who speaks out against the North Korean regime. Donald Trump’s equally infantile bravado hasn’t helped to ease the situation, and their ongoing war of words has brought the threat of nuclear conflict back to the forefront of global politics.
- Elon Musk has been described as a ‘real-life Iron Man’, due to the fact that he, like the Tony Stark character in the Iron Man comics from Marvel, is a multi-billionaire who also happens to be a technological visionary and inventor. In the last year he has been particularly outspoken about the dangers of artificial intelligence, opposing the pro-AI views of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, who incidentally was TIME’s Person of the Year in 2010.
The TIME magazine Person of the Year title goes to the individual who is said to have had the greatest influence on the world in the past year, but that doesn’t necessarily mean a positive influence. Donald Trump is therefore an obvious contender once again, but we can’t imagine him receiving that accolade two years running.
Of the remaining contenders, we think that Colin Kaepernick would be a popular choice. His personal protest against oppression has inspired other players to follow his lead, and whether or not people agree with his position, it has certainly brought the topic of racism back into the public eye worldwide. We will therefore cautiously side with Kaepernick to be named TIME magazine’s Person of the Year for 2017.