Time Explores Trump’s Racist Appeal in ‘Person of the Year’ Profile

By Sameer Rao Dec 07, 2016

Time Magazine unveiled Donald Trump as its "Person of the Year" today (December 7). The lengthy profile of the reality TV star turned president-elect frequently references his racist and sexist political rhetoric:

Trump found a way to woo White evangelicals by historic margins, even winning those who attend religious services every week. Despite boasting on video of sexually assaulting women, he still found a way to win white females by nine points. As a champion of federal entitlements for the poor, tariffs on China and health care "for everybody," he dominated among self-described conservatives. In a country that seemed to be bending toward its demographic future, with many straining to finally step outside the darker cycles of history, he proved that tribal instincts never die, that in times of economic strife and breakneck social change, a charismatic leader could still find the enemy within and rally the masses to his side. In the weeks after his victory, hundreds of incidents of harassment—against women, Muslims, immigrants and racial minorities—were reported across the country using his name.

Michael Scherer’s article chronicles Trump’s electoral path and rise to the presidency, ultimately concluding that Trump’s falsehood-filled demagougery spoke to Americans who feel economically disenfranchised better than Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton‘s messaging. The profile also connects Trump’s rise with growing nationalist populism around the world, which was further explored in another story from the issue.

Trump spoke to Time for the article, reinforcing his plan to "build a wall" to keep out undocumented immigrants. 

The "Person of the Year" pick often generates controversy, and this time is no different. Many people tweeted criticisms this morning, boosting the article to a trending topic. Perhaps anticipating the backlash, Time also published an explainer:

The title goes to "the person or persons who most affected the news and our lives, for good or ill, and embodied what was important about the year, for better or for worse," as former managing editor Walter Isaacson wrote in the 1998 issue. That means the person is not necessarily a hero—Adolf Hitler, for example, was Person of the Year in 1938, with a cover showing him playing a ghastly organ and a cover line touting, "From the unholy organist, a hymn of hate." Stalin got the nod twice, while the selection of Iran’s Ayatullah Khomeini in 1979, when the magazine called him "the mystic who lit the fires of hatred." And some choices have been ambiguous; take Newt Gingrich, who was a hero to some and a menace to others.

Clinton was shortlisted for "Person of the Year," alongside Turkish Prime Minister Recep Erdogan, hackers, a group of cancer research pioneers and Beyoncé. "With ‘Lemonade’—an album, an Emmy-nominated film and, as America looked on, an experience—Beyoncé publicly embraced explicitly feminist Blackness at a politically risky moment," Melissa Harris-Perry wrote in her profile of the artist. "For three years, the stream of cell-phone videos of fatal encounters between African Americans and local police sustained a national controversy that, in some quarters, came down to a choice between one and the other. She chose Blackness even as many Americans rejected it, taking sides and never wavering."

Read more over at Time.com.