The Best Covers of the 2016 Election Season

newsweek-bushesThe real winners of this presidential election cycle? The brilliant magazine design teams behind some of these iconic covers.

Regardless of where you stand on the candidates, this season has seen incredible creativity in political magazine covers.

“The 2016 Presidential campaign might not be the proudest moment for our nation at large, but kudos should be given to American graphic designers and editors for capturing the craziness on the covers of several magazines,” notes Josh Jackson of Paste. “We’ve picked our favorites from those hopeful months in 2015 through the current reality-TV nightmare we’re currently experiencing. We’ll update our picks up until every ballot has been cast.”

The list of favorites starts almost three years earlier, with the Time cover of a pant-suited and sensibly-shod leg with a contender dangling helplessly off her heel.

“A full three years before our nation’s 45th president gets sworn into office, Time magazine kicks off the painfully long election season with a cover story on the inevitability of second Clinton administration, something looking quite prescient right about now,” Jackson writes.

Their list includes The Week’s cover portraying Clinton’s new image as a cereal package; a Games of Thrones send-up of the (then) presumptive GOPs frontrunners from Newsweek in 2014; and the Daily News cover that summarized the state of universal surprise when Trump announced his candidacy.

As the election draws nearer, the covers have become increasingly poignant, highlighting the otherworldliness of this particular election cycle and its effect on the American and world psyche.

And the winner?

“Time’s ‘Meltdown’ cover after Donald Trump’s horrible first debate was my favorite election cover of the year. Until the Orange One said, ‘You thought that was a meltdown? I’ll show you a meltdown,’ forcing Time to revisit the now iconic cover just two months later. Time just dropped the mic,” Jackson notes.

In a way, we’ll miss this election cycle for its creative brilliance if nothing else.