It's that time (get it?) of year again, when Time magazine decides definitively once and for all, who the Person of the Year is. The publication will announce its decision Wednesday morning. Once the decision is rendered, no other person is allowed to become the person of that particular year and all other publications must cease their discussions of high-profile public figures. Those are the rules.
So who will it be? NBC managed to get the scoop on who the five finalists are. In no particular order, they are: Edward Snowden, Bashar al-Assad, Edith Windsor, Ted Cruz, and Pope Francis.
Why they should get it: Snowden has been the source of a number of devastating leaks surrounding the federal government's surveillance programs, driving a conversation about civil liberties and self-reflection on how much we give up in exchange for online services.
Why they might not get it: Snowden brought to light a bunch of things most people kind of assumed was happening but didn't really have any concrete proof of. Plus, "The Whistleblowers" already got the cover back in 2002.
Why they should get it: The civil war in Syria has been the nucleus around which much international diplomacy has revolved this year. It got the U.S. and Russia to come together in efforts to peacefully destroy Syria's chemical weapons. Assad is, at the very least, a polarizing, oft-discussed figure, which counts for something.
Why they might not get it: There's tons of evidence to suggest that Assad committed human rights violations and gassed his own citizens. Giving Person of the Year to Assad might be perceived as implicit approval of his actions. Although it wouldn't be the first time a war criminal was honored by Time (Adolf Hitler, 1938).
Why they should get it: Her fight in the Supreme Court was the one that toppled the Defense of Marriage Act, allowing same-sex couples to receive the same protections and benefits as heterosexual couples. The case was a landmark turning point in the fight for marriage equality, which is now supported by the majority of Americans.
Why they might not get it: While Windsor's case had far-reaching consequences, she might be seen as more notable for the movement she represents, as opposed to specific actions that she has personally taken.
Why they should get it: Say what you will about Cruz's politics, but he's definitely had a visible effect on the U.S. government. He was one of the politicians most closely-connected with the effort to defund Obamacare, leading to the federal government shutdown.
Why they should get it: The guy is way more chill than the last pope. He's not entirely down with capitalism, he's less virulent in his stance on homosexuality and abortion, and he's not bothered by spunky children. And he poses for selfies.
Why they might not get it: It's all relative. Admitting that homosexuality is not uniformly awful is a big step for the Vatican, but in the context of events like the Windsor case, giving Francis the designation could be kind of like giving the Catholic Church points just for trying.