US President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris have just been named as TIME magazine’s 2020 Person of the Year.
The Democratic force won against three other finalists: Frontline health care workers and Dr. Anthony Fauci, the racial justice movement, and America’s incumbent president Donald Trump, who Biden defeated in last month’s election.
“Together, they offered restoration and renewal in a single ticket. And America bought what they were selling: after the highest turnout in a century, they racked up 81 million votes and counting, the most in presidential history, topping Trump by some 7 million votes and flipping five battleground states,” wrote TIME.
Why TIME chose Joe Biden and Kamala Harris as the 2020 Person of the Year #TIMEPOY https://t.co/Y95wjGfzFN— TIME (@TIME) December 11, 2020
This year has been especially eventful, dramatic and challenging. And it has reflected on TIME’s shortlist. The bitter elections that saw Americans move and vote, the COVID-19 pandemic that highlighted the important role of health workers and Dr. Fauci, and the movement for racial justice that rocked the US and beyond.
Joe Biden, 78, received roughly seven million more votes than his Republican adversary, who is yet to concede. He won largely because of his platform to restore the soul of the nation and to reunite Americans.
While rivals and Trump supporters threw criticism after criticism towards him, Biden held on to “righteous vengeance”.
Biden believed most voters simply wanted reconciliation after four years of combat, and that they crave decency, dignity, experience and competence.
Kamala Harris, meanwhile, made history when she won vice presidency. She is the first woman, first Black person and first person of Asian descent to be elected vice president in the US.
“I will be the first, but I will not be the last,” Harris said in one of her interviews.
Harris, 55, grew up among activists, joining protests and movements herself in a bid to change how America’s system works. She worked hard to create a name and leave a legacy. And she succeeded as she continues to break barriers.
In 2004, she was elected San Francisco DA; six years later, she was elected attorney general of California. She implemented programs for young nonviolent offenders, while also enforcing truancy laws by threatening parents with fines if their kids missed school. She was not scared to go for what she believes is right.
Harris arrived in the Senate in 2017, the first Indian American in its history. She impressed colleagues with both her infectious laugh and her ruthless probing of witnesses.
It was Biden and Harris’s political instincts and innate ardor for social justice and professional competence that made America believe in the future they promised.
And it was their historical triumph in the middle of political hurdles and health crisis that made TIME choose both Joe Biden and Kamala Harris.
Given the scale of work Biden and Harris has to do when they take office in January, the world will be looking at what specific changes and decisions they will be making. Americans and non-Americans have high hopes.
Joe Biden and Kamala Harris share a faith that empathetic governance can restore the solidarity we’ve lost. Biden told TIME he has lately been reading about Franklin D. Roosevelt’s first 100 days, when FDR worked to pull the nation out of the Great Depression, a feat that helped restore confidence in democracy. “We’re the only country in the world that has come out of every crisis stronger than we went into the crisis,” he insists. “I predict we will come out of this crisis stronger than when we went in.”
“TIME from its beginnings has had a special connection to the presidency, as a reflection of America and its role in the world. Every elected President since FDR has at some point during his term been a Person of the Year, nearly a dozen of those in a presidential election year. This is the first time we have included a Vice President. In a year that saw an epic struggle for racial justice, and one of the most consequential elections in history, the Biden-Harris partnership sends a powerful message,” wrote TIME.
Aside from Biden and Harris’ award as Person of the Year, TIME also announced winners of several other categories.
Athlete of the Year: LeBron James
Entertainer of the Year: BTS
Businessperson of the Year: Eric Yuan
Guardians of the Year: Dr. Anthony Fauci, Frontline Health Workers, Porche Bennett-Bey, Assa Traore and Racial-Justice Organizers
Kid of the Year: Gitanjali Rao
It has become TIME’s tradition to name influential people since 1927, to pay tribute to the contributions they’ve made to the society.