Bookies are cutting their odds on Donald Trump, perhaps the world’s most divisive political figure, winning his second Time Person of the Year award.
Time Person of the Year is given by Time Magazine to honour the individual who, “for better or for worse… has done the most to influence the events of the year.” Trump previously secured the title in 2016 after his unlikely ascent to the US presidency.
At this stage it is unclear whether the change in odds reflects anything about Trump, or if they say more about the lack of other viable candidates.
The Trump Agenda
Aside from the controversial nomination of new Supreme Court judge Steven Kavanaugh in the face of strong opposition,it is hard to identify much of note that the US president has achieved this year.
Nonetheless, every action, speech or tweet continues to be seized upon by commentators from all sides of the political spectrum. Even without too many clear achievements under his belt in 2018, he still manages to set the agenda.
Both Unibet and 888sport have shortened odds on a Trump win for reasons which remain unclear, although Paddy Power is offering a much longer 5/1.
Also in the running is American football player and political activist Colin Kaepernick, businessman and technologist Elon Musk and Chinese premier Xi Jinping.
In terms of historical significance and influence over the greatest number of people, Xi Jinping has had the most notable year. Widely considered to have amassed more personal power than any recent Chinese leader, Forbes magazine this year ranked him as the most influential and powerful person in the world, taking over from Russian leader Vladamir Putin.
In comparison, Kaepernick and Musk have much more limited influence. Musk has had a high profile year, though more for his occasionally erratic social media content than for any concrete achievements. Interest in Kaepernick is largely confined to the United States, though as an American news organisation it would not be surprising for Time to acknowledge this huge American story.
Periodically Time will push at the limits of the model by choosing a group or concept rather than an individual. Examples from the last decade include, “The Protester” and “Ebola Fighters”. It is not possible to bet on such an option, but as last year’s winners were a group, “The Silence Breakers”, it seems likely that the magazine will choose an individual for 2018.