Bernie Sanders Loses TIME’s Person Of The Year Despite Winning Online Poll

On Monday, Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders won the readers’ poll for TIME‘s Person of the Year, which was conducted online.

The 74-year-old Senator won by landslide, beating out other world-renowned leaders like Russian President Vladimir Putin, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, and even U.S. President Barack Obama.

Bernie Sanders won by more than 10 percent of the total online votes, while his closest contender, Malala Yousafzai, a young Pakistani activist that fights for the education rights of girls in her country, only got 5.2 percent of the votes.

Aside from beating the U.S. president in the online poll, Bernie Sanders also overran his toughest competitors: Donald Trump (1.8%), and Hillary Clinton (1.4%). Sanders’ win in the online poll could be a sign that his call for a “political revolution” is taking effect as far as TIME‘s online readers are concerned. The self-described “socialist” wants to push “big money” out of politics and encourage people to get involved in order to battle the greedy “billionaire class.”

“The only way to succeed is when millions of people stand up and decide to engage,” Sanders said.

Bernie Sanders Talks About A “Political Revolution”

No U.S. presidential candidate has ever won the Person of the Year award prior to the results of the election. However, the fact that Sanders topped the poll is testament that there are still people who will choose to go for someone with whom they share similar views as opposed to someone who is popular.

But while Sanders’ cause may be noble, which is mostly likely why he earned the top spot in the Person of the Year online poll, it wasn’t enough for him to take home the prize. Reportedly, Sanders’ name was taken out of the short list from which the editors of TIME was supposed to make their choice for Person of the Year.

TIME released the names of the eight finalists for the annual award on Tuesday, but Bernie Sanders was nowhere to be found on the list.

Both Sanders and his runner-up Yousafzai were not included in the list of finalists. The finalists included Putin, Trump, Rouhani, former Olympian and transgender Caitlyn Jenner, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Uber CEO Travis Kalanick, Black Lives Matter activists, and Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi, leader of jihadist group Islamic State.

On Wednesday, TIME announced the winner during NBC’s Today show.

Angela Merkel was the unanimous choice of the TIME editors, making her the second individual woman to ever win the award.

TIME commended Merkel for the way she handled the debt crisis in Greece as well as the influx of refugees to Europe, which was caused by the wars in the Middle East. “In a year where world leaders were tested, no one was tested the way [Merkel] was,” said TIME Editor-in-Chief Nancy Gibbs on the Today show.

Despite receiving criticism for her actions and decisions, Merkel reportedly showed “generosity, humanity, and tolerance.” Gibbs wrote in the cover story that Merkel showcased how “Germany’s great strength could be used to save, rather than destroy.” The first woman to ever win the then-called “Man of the Year” award is former Philippine President Corazon C. Aquino, who led a peaceful revolution to oust dictator Pres. Ferdinand Marcos, and bring democracy back to the Asian nation.

TIME Deputy Managing Editor Radhika Jones said that the Person of the Year award is given to an individual or group of people that have been making news and influencing people’s lives throughout the year, regardless of whether these effects are good or bad.

Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders has definitely helped in encouraging involvement in the political scene in the U.S., yet in national polls, he remains far second to Clinton, who is a fellow democratic candidate.

Because of Bernie Sanders’ lack of popularity among his own people, as well as people living overseas, TIME may have opted to go for bigger “newsmakers.”

[Image by Ethan Miller, Getty Images]