From the Washington Prayer Breakfast earlier this year to his forefront effort to attack ObamaCare, Dr. Ben Carson has emerged onto the scene as one of the most vocal Conservative figures. Without even having a political background, many Conservatives are calling for him to take a run for the White House in 2016. With his widespread popularity, it seems very unlikely Dr. Ben Carson will be going away anytime soon in 2014.
12) Hillary Clinton
Hillary Clinton made her mark on 2013 with one of the most infamous quotes of the year: "What difference does it make?" After that, she has sparked rumors of a run for president in 2016. However, she has faced much praise from one side and much outrage from the other. If she is to run in 2016, she will certainly face much heat for the statements she made. I've already seen some Conservative attack slogans: "Hillary Clinton 2016: What difference does it make?" Either way, we will certainly be seeing more Hillary Clinton in the upcoming years as rumors swirl as to if she will take another stab at the White House.
11) Kathleen Sebelius
With a botched ObamaCare rollout under her belt as Secretary of Health and Human Services, all eyes were on Kathleen Sebelius. So much so that even SNL, with it's Liberal bias and all, did a skit poking fun at the failed rollout. With Conservatives calling for her to be fired and everybody laughing about the website that signed up 6 people on the first day, all eyes were on the person who was in charge of the implementation for what was probably the most newsworthy story of the year. With the website smoothed over, but still much many problems with the law, I think we'll see more people attacking the law, rather than those in charge of its implementation, in 2014.
10) Jennifer Lawrence
It seemed Jennifer Lawrence could do no wrong this year. And it seemed no matter where you turned, there she was. Her hair cut even made major news headlines. However, she will best be known this year for her down-to-earth behavior. Removing a gate blocking the red carpet, she walked off to meet a fan in a wheelchair and take pictures with her in a spurt of the moment action. And just recently she has come out as an advocate against Hollywood's unrealistic body image, advocating against touch-ups and attacking Joan Rivers and the show Fashion Police for making fun of actresses' weights. With her movies grossing a lot of money, it's extremely reasonable to assume Jennifer Lawrence will not be going anywhere soon, especially when she's become such a household name.
9) Chris Christie
Winning another term as Governor of New Jersey, Chris Christie finished 2013 on an extremely high note. Becoming a household political name, the governor has set himself up as a very strong candidate for a 2016 presidential run, which we all know is coming. It became the tale of two ideologies between Christie and a man who will later appear on the list of most influential people. Being classified as the Republican establishment candidate (which really he isn't), it became the brawl within the party that also kept him newsworthy this year. Often being matched up against Hillary Clinton in polls, Christie will certainly not be going anywhere soon. With that likeability factor you just don't usually find in a politician, Christie will certainly making headlines for years to come as he sets up his run for the White House.
8) Barack Obama
What started off as a great year for the incumbent president turned into a disastrous finish, with presidential ratings close to Richard Nixon's a year after reelection. Not only by Conservatives, but also by Liberals, Barack Obama has started to received the title "Lame Duck President." It seemed every battle this year was fought out through Congress, with the President sitting on the sidelines. However, when it did come to the President, it seemed nothing could go right. Scandal after scandal poured in. (Bengazi, Fast and Furious, the IRS, the AP, and even more) But then came ObamaCare towards the end of the year, and what a disaster that was. The implementation of the president's signature policy of his entire presidency was completely botched. The public received rate shock with the hikes in insurance prices. Five million people were kicked off their plans. A government shutdown in which both parties became hated by the public. And at the end of it all, 1.1 people signed up for ObamaCare through the website. Far below the 7 million mark the administration had set, with Forbes saying that we will see a reduction of insured people in 2014. The President certainly isn't going anywhere, but 2013 certainly has not been his year. With midterm elections this upcoming November, the Democratic Party could be in major peril.
7) Harry Reid
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid emerged onto the scene this year as the most hated person in Congress by voters. Under government shutdown, he faced many critics when he was asked whether he would pass a bill the Republican House had sent to the Senate to continue the funding for children with cancer, and he responded, "Why would we want to do that?" Then, Reid enacted the nuclear option that sent not only Conservatives, but also Liberals, into panic. Striping the minority party of their right to filibuster certain legislation, he only furthered the partisan tone of Congress. Depending on legislation in 2014, we could see some more of Reid. However, if the battles tone down, we will most likely see Reid disappear in 2014.
6) Malala Yousafzai
The girl shot by the Taliban is back and more vocal than ever, speaking out for women's education in the Middle East. This teenager has not only acted as an advocate for education, but an inspiration for many around the world.
5) Vladimir Putin
It seemed as if war was inevitable. Barack Obama had drawn a red line, and Syria didn't want to cooperate. Then, a savior was sent... Vladimir Putin? This manipulative leader of Russia has proceeded to not only show up Barack Obama on the world stage here, but on very many levels this year, leaving Obama looking weak against the Russian president. The question is whether another Cold War era is emerging. Whatever the outcome may be, it looks as if Vladimir Putin is here to stay (at least as long as Barack Obama is in the White House.)
4) Rand Paul
My personal favorite of the year, Rand Paul pushed his foot into every household earlier this year when he filibustered on the use of drones. However, he has remained a force to be reckoned with in Washington. He has not only become a voice for the Tea Party, but also the Libertarian establishment, drawing a strong backing from the younger generation of voters. Being a member most forefront on issues such as national debt, ObamaCare, and the government shutdown, Paul has remained relevant throughout the media throughout the media this year. Most likely looking to throw his hat in the ring for a chance at the White House, many are looking at him as the underdog who could swoop in and take it all if he can manage to get the GOP nomination due to his young voter following, an area the GOP has struggled with for years. With him eyeing his change at the White House in 2016, it's safe to assume Rand Paul isn't going anywhere anytime soon. #StandWithRand
3) Pope Francis
On the international level, there is no doubt that Pope Francis is the person of the year. Yet, as an American, I feel there were two others who influenced my life more than my own faith leader. Virtually rejuvenating the Catholic Church after an unexpected and unprecedented step down from Pope Benedict XVI, Pope Francis has managed to bring the Catholic Church back into the positive light for many, and possibly even bring some people back to mass. Yet, he stirred controversy within the Catholic community for his comments about shifting the focus from abortion and gay marriage, angering many Catholics such as myself. Furthermore, controversy swirled as the Pope called capitalism the new tyranny, angering many on the Right. Then, turning around and saying Marxism is evil as well, leaving many dazed and confused as to what system he is advocating for. With the media's obsession over Pope Francis and his down-to-earth style, it is hard to see him going anywhere in 2014.
2) Edward Snowden
The whistleblower who left Americans in outrage with our government, Edward Snowden has been hailed as a hero by most Americans who care about their right to privacy. Starting the chain of leaks that lead uncovering the NSA looks at America's personal information, tracking billions of cellphones per day, able to activate the camera on your computer without you knowing, working with Google to uncover your search histories, and the list just goes on and on. Then, he fled to Russia where Putin let him stay in the airport as a big middle finger to the American government. Edward Snowden will be hailed as a hero for years to come for his efforts. However, I don't think he himself will remain relevant heading into 2014.
1) Ted Cruz
You either love him, or you hate him. But you certainly know who he is. The new Senator wasn't even on the map before 2013. Yet, with a filibuster reading from the Bible and Green Eggs and Ham, Ted Cruz became an overnight household name, causing great separation between people. Whatever your views on Ted Cruz are, you do have to admire his gutsiness. He was a man on a mission, not willing to rest without at least attempting to try to defund ObamaCare. He promised his constituents that, and that is certainly what he did. He virtually turned Congress on its head with the GOP's own John McCain lashing out at the new Senator. This was happily greeted by both Conservatives and Liberals. Conservatives because they finally felt people in Washington were voicing their opinions, and Liberals because they thought it would destroy the GOP. (Well, that's until they saw the ObamaCare rollout, and it has become a race as to who can keep their sinking ship afloat longer than the other.)
Either way, it's been a long time since we've seen a politician with his style, the last being Ronald Reagan. Many people forget Ronald Reagan primaried our own incumbent President Gerald Ford for the party nomination in 1976. It was said that Ronald Reagan would destroy the GOP. Now, he is hailed as the GOP's favorite president. Only time can tell whether it will be the same for Ted Cruz. However, with everyone knowing he is setting his aim for the White House in 2016, don't expect Cruz to be going anywhere soon. #KeepCruzing