Third Rail With OZY: Who Lost the Biggest in 2017?

It looks like you're using Microsoft Internet Explorer 8.
We are sorry but This Video does not work with Internet Explorer 8.

Personalized for you

Why you should care

Because sometimes the biggest splash is the result of the largest flop.

This week: Who lost the biggest in 2017? Let us know by email or in the comments below.

It’s that time of year when we start to see magazine covers touting the best, brightest and most influential people on the planet during the previous 11 months (nobody seems to wait to see what happens in December). GQ recently dubbed former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick as its Citizen of the Year. Time magazine opted for “The Silence Breakers” as its Person of the Year. But at Third Rail With OZY, in keeping with our goal of putting our finger on the more contentious side of things, we wanted to know: Who were some of the biggest losers of 2017?

Every list of losers must start with the growing list of casualties from the burgeoning #MeToo movement. A number of careers came to a premature and much-deserved halt in 2017 — so many that it’s getting hard to keep up or even to gauge who had the hardest fall. Several entertainers, including Kevin Spacey and Louis C.K., tumbled from peak moments in their careers, while Matt Lauer, Bill O’Reilly, Charlie Rose and many other high-profile journalists have been relegated to the sidelines for what is proving to be one of the most significant moments in their profession’s history. And, of course, Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein, now the unshaven poster boy for social movement tipping points, has seen an entire industry scramble to disavow and disentangle itself from every project he placed his prolific paws on.

Two of the largest losers … come at the intersection of #MeToo and American politics.

American politics also dominated the news in 2017, and likewise should feature prominently in any discussion of the year’s losers. Somewhat paradoxically, both Donald Trump and Barack Obama deserve to be near the top of the list. Trump, whose approval ratings have fallen to historic lows, has had perhaps the roughest first year of any first-year president in recent memory, having managed only one major legislative accomplishment despite having his party in control of Congress. On the other hand, Trump has already managed — through executive orders, judicial appointments, policy changes, administrative reversals and more — to take a major bite out of his predecessor’s legacy.

Two of the largest, and most recent, losers of 2017, however, come at the intersection of #MeToo and American politics. For Daniel Urman, director of Northeastern University’s Doctorate in Law and Policy program, one of the biggest casualties of the year was Minnesota Sen. Al Franken, who announced his resignation from Congress while other politicians facing claims of sexual harassment did not. “He admitted to mistakes,” says Urman, “but those who deny credible claims are still in office.”

One of those politicians who denied the claims against him, but was in turn denied office by voters, Alabama Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore, was the biggest loser of the year, according to Steffen Schmidt, a political science professor at Iowa State University. “The reason is that expectations were so high for him,” says Schmidt, and that his election loss will have “potentially disastrous consequences for the GOP in 2018.”

So what do you think? Who were the biggest losers of 2017? Let us know by emailing thirdrail@ozy.com or by answering in the comments below.

OZYOpinion

Interviews, op-eds, and analysis to help you make sense of the news of the day and the news of the future.