Who Will Be the 2017 Time Magazine Person of the Year?

by Taylor Smith
on November 30, 2017

Every year, Time Magazine names its Person of the Year. The award was labeled as the “Man of the Year” or “Woman of the Year” until it changed to the all-encompassing “Person of the Year” in 1999. The Person of the Year feature is a profile of the person, group or idea that “for better or for worse…has done the most to influence the events of the year.”

Of course, the Person of the Year isn’t always one person. Sometimes it’s a group of people, as it was in 2014 when Ebola fighters earned the honor. In 2006, Time named “You” as the Person of the Year. Was that a cop-out? Absolutely. 2006 must have been boring. The Endangered Earth was tabbed with the “honor” back in 1988.

Last year, Donald Trump was named Person of the Year. Given the description of the feature, it’s hard to imagine how Trump would not win it again in 2017. What single person has done more to “influence the events of the year” than the current American President? Trump has dominated the news cycle, for better or for worse, for well over a year now.

Still, the 45th president is not the current betting favorite. Below are the odds for who will win Time’s 2017 Person of the Year.

  • Emmanuel Macron -150
  • #MeToo +200
  • Donald Trump +400
  • Colin Kaepernick +400
  • Elon Musk +400
  • Mohammed bin Salman +400
  • Kim Jong-Un +900
  • Angela Merkel +1000
  • Conor McGregor +1500
  • Rodrigo Duterte +2000
  • Vladimir Putin +2500
  • The ACLU +3000
  • Barack Obama +3000
  • Pope Francis +3000

Let’s break down a few of the betting favorites.

Emmanuel Macron -150

emmanuel macron
Back in May, Macron was elected President of France. At age 39, he became the youngest President in French history, and the youngest French head of state since Napoleon Bonaparte.

Early poll numbers indicate that Macron is popular. He won the election by a landslide over Marine Le Pen, and a poll indicated that Macron had a 62 percent approval rating upon taking office. His early approval is higher than his predecessor, Francois Hollande (61 percent), but a bit lower than Nicolas Sarkozy’s (65 percent).

Macron has called himself a socialist in the past, though he more accurately has been labeled as a bit of a centrist liberal over the last few years. The French President certainly fits the bill for Time’s Person of the Year. World leaders are often strongly considered, particularly fresh faces. Macron checks both of those boxes.

When asked about Macron’s potential to be Time Person of the Year, an anonymous Time panelist told Mediamass, “What makes Macron so important is the potential and influence he now has, rather than anything he has already done.”

Macron is the favorite and understandably so. There isn’t much value in betting on him at -150, but he looks like a clear-cut favorite.

#MeToo +200

The #MeToo hashtag is certainly a late entry, but a worthwhile challenger to Macron. Over the past month or so, countless women have come out and revealed that they were sexually harassed at one time or another in the past, often times by men in powerful positions.

Most recently, the likes of NBC’s Matt Lauer and CBS’ Charlie Rose have been fired from their respective companies amid reports of sexual impropriety. Back in October, the hashtag #MeToo was popularized in social media by actress Alyssa Milano, who wanted other women to come out and publicize how rampant the sexual harassment problem is. The phrase was originally created by social activist Tarana Burke back in 2006.

Milano tweeted, “If all the women who have been sexually harassed or assaulted wrote ‘Me too’ as a status, we might give people a sense of the magnitude of the problem.”

According to Facebook, more than 45 percent of users of the platform in the United States had at least one “Facebook friend” that had posted the term. The hashtag has gone on to trend on Twitter in 85 countries.

The movement has helped bring about social change in the United States regarding sexual misconduct. This all happening so late in the year could negatively affect the hashtag’s chances of earning Person of the Year, but we think it’s a real value here at +200. This is the dominant storyline in the country, and it doesn’t seem like something that’s going to be going away anytime soon.

Donald Trump +400

As mentioned previously, Trump would be Person of the Year in an absolute landslide if he hadn’t done so last year. The only person to be named Person of the Year in back-to-back years was Richard Nixon in 1971 and ‘72, though Nixon did share it with Henry Kissinger the second time around.

Trump would make plenty of sense again in 2017, but we recently had this infamous tweet,

Trump claims that Time called him to tell him he was going to be a likely winner, but Time itself has shot back that the claim is false. Time subsequently tweeted, “The President is incorrect about how we choose the Person of the Year. Time does not comment on our choice until publication, which is December 6.”

So, while Trump claims to have passed, Time says there’s no way he could even know about it until publication. Given all that’s happened this year, and given how much of it involves the President, the notion that anyone else is the Person of the Year barely registers. For better or for worse, it should probably be Trump.

Still, it sounds like that won’t be the case. So, the bettor can pass on The Donald at +400.

Colin Kaepernick +400

Colin Kaepernick has not played an NFL game this season, and, at this point, it seems pretty safe to assume he will spend the rest of the season as a free agent. Even so, he’s emerging as a late contender for Person of the Year.

Earlier this month, GQ Magazine named Kaepernick as its Citizen of the Year. Kaepernick declined to give quotes to the magazine, but he posed for photos and graced a cover. Of course, Kaepernick made headlines last year when he was the first player to take a knee during the pregame national anthem. Kaepernick was protesting social injustice and police brutality against minorities.

Unfortunately, Kaepernick’s message has since been misconstrued and bastardized. Rather than recognizing the fact that the former quarterback was protesting social injustice, many believe Kaepernick is insulting the United States military and the flag by choosing not to recognize the national anthem.

The activism has clearly cost him a job. While no NFL team owners have come out to say explicitly that they do not want him because of the potential controversy, it’s clear at this point that Kaepernick has been blackballed. Given the poor quality of backup quarterbacks around the league, it makes no sense whatsoever that a talent like Kaepernick should remain unsigned. Yet, here he is.

Kaepernick has essentially punted on his playing career in order to pursue social justice. While this story is fairly exclusive to the United States, it’s still been a massive narrative for well over a year now. Kaepernick makes for an interesting sleeper bet at +400.

In terms of likeliest winners, we’ll rank the top 4 candidates as follows:

  • Emmanuel Macron -150
  • Colin Kaepernick +400
  • #MeToo +200
  • Mohammed bin Salman +400
  • Donald Trump +400
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