Results are in for Time magazine’s “Person of the Year” online reader poll and Bernie Sanders has won in a landslide victory. Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani activist known for her crusade for girls’ education, once again, came in second place after making another appearance on the list.
Bernie Sanders won with more than 10 percent of the votes. Yousafzai received 5.2 percent of the votes. Pope Francis, who has done much to raise awareness for human rights and economic equality, came in third at 3.5 percent of the votes. Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton limped in at 1.8 and 1.4 percent of the total votes, respectively.
Time magazine, which is owned by Time Warner, ultimately chooses its own “Person of the Year,” regardless of whom its readers choose. This is blatantly obvious this year as the Democratic and Republican primary races heat up. Bernie Sanders won the reader contest handily; yet, Time magazine conspicuously left him off of its final list, including instead Donald Trump, whose popularity among readers was almost as dismal as Hillary Clinton’s, who also did not make the magazine’s top eight list.
Last year, readers chose Narendra Modi, India’s Prime Minister, who has been an important part of international diplomacy in his part of the world. However, Time ultimately chose “Ebola fighters;” the health care workers who were critical in the efforts to stop the spread of the deadly disease. In 2013, Egyptian army chief el-Sisi won the the poll, but Pope Francis was chosen by the editorial board for its “Person of the Year” award.
Speculation has arisen as to the legitimacy of the Time magazine online poll and what use it actually serves. In an editorial for The Guardian, Amanda Holpuch wrote last year that while Time magazine probably means well, the poll is merely a popularity contest.
“The poll is less about relaying information on people’s feelings about influential people of the year, and more about which of those people has fans that are able to rally more people who believe online poll results matter.”
On Time magazine’s Twitter account, users questioned the media giant’s decision to not include Bernie Sanders on its short list of possible winners. Having won the reader’s choice poll to not even make it to the magazine’s Top Eight has people questioning the publication’s true motive.
In previous years, rumors floated that the online polls had been hacked. In 2013, hackers claimed to have found a way to cast multiple votes for Miley Cyrus. In 2014, it was speculated that Time magazine’s online poll had been influenced by the Syrian Electronic Army.
Regardless, Bernie Sanders continues to gain support throughout the nation as a candidate who genuinely cares for his constituents. Elizabeth Warren, who has yet to endorse a candidate, stopped just short of endorsing Sanders when she told the Boston Herald that he speaks from the heart, when asked her opinion of him. Warren is the only female senator who has declined to endorse Hillary thus far.
“Bernie is doing what Bernie always does — he’s out there talking from the heart, raising the issues that he’s raised for decades now. That’s just who he is.”
Just one week ago, Bernie Sanders’s Twitter account had more than 929,000 followers. This week, he has gained at least 35,000 followers, and now has more than 964,000 people following his campaign account. His popularity among young and old voters alike is the result of his seemingly genuine, no-nonsense demeanor. He speaks bluntly, without the platitudes that are so common among career politicians. He has also been an advocate for economic equality and reform since he was first elected as the mayor of Burlington, Vermont in 1981, defeating the six-term incumbent by a slim margin of just ten votes. He was re-elected three times.
Since his term as mayor, Bernie Sanders was won enemies on both sides of the aisle for criticizing Democrats and Republicans for working for the wealthy and not for the people.
Time magazine’s online poll may not mean much to its editorial board, and it may be just another way to generate ad revenue. It might be susceptible to hackers and astroturfing for popular celebrities and international figures. But, this year may be different. This year has seen Bernie Sanders’s popularity soar among the voting populace.
Sanders’s rallies consistently draw thousands of people, and according to Rolling Stone magazine, more than 400,000 people have attended his rallies since he announced his candidacy in April. He has garnered more than 750,000 donors, with an average of $30 per donation.
Last week, Bernie Sanders spoke at New Hampshire’s Jefferson-Jackson dinner, where he expressed outrage on behalf of voters to resounding applause.
“What most people in our country understand is that we are living in a rigged economy where almost all of new income and wealth generated is going to the top one percent.”
Donald Trump’s inclusion in Time Magazine’s “Person of the Year” award is based on how his candidacy has made a significant impact on the Republican party, for better or for worse. His ideals become more and more outlandish, exposing the far right wing ideology that no one except Trump dares speak out loud and his supporters love it.
However, Bernie Sanders has had much the same, if not a stronger, more positive, impact on the Democratic party. In contrast to Trump’s campaign, which some argue may have started as a parabolic campaign designed to exploit the true colors behind GOP tenets, Bernie Sanders’s campaign is seemingly real. It resonates. He may very well win the nomination if his current momentum continues.
The rest of Time magazine’s Top Eight list for “Person of the Year” includes German chancellor Angela Merkel, Black Lives Matter activists, Caitlyn Jenner (formerly known as Bruce Jenner), Über founder Travis Kalanick, Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, Russian president Vladimir Putin and Iranian president Hassan Rouhani.
[Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty]