Many of our readers may not know how the HPR selects covers topics for each magazine. This process occurs every quarter when the entire staff convenes to consider various covers topic proposals, which essentially map out a hypothetical magazine’s content (i.e., potential article topics, accompanying multimedia content, etc.). After an hour of deliberation and voting, the HPR winnows down approximately ten covers topic proposals to a single one. The covers topics you saw this past year—State of the Art, Who is Our Enemy?, and All in the Neighborhood—were the proposals that ultimately prevailed through this process.
One of the main criteria the HPR considers when choosing a covers topic is its ability to be both timely and timeless: it should be both relevant today while remaining relevant in the future. The Underdog Issue perfectly encapsulates this key criterion. In fact, the Underdog Issue was proposed four times before finally being selected as the covers topic this quarter—a testament to its timely and timeless nature. Each time the HPR decided to pursue a covers topic other than the Underdog Issue, it was precisely because we knew that it would continue to be applicable at any other point, including now. Especially with recent events like the Chicago Cubs’ first World Series victory in 108 years, Donald Trump’s unexpected and unconventional path to clinching the U.S. presidency, and Yale’s first win in a football game against Harvard in nine years, the underdog narrative is very much alive today.
Underdogs are essentially predicted losers who, against the odds, prove their doubters wrong. The story of David and Goliath is frequently cited as following a quintessential underdog narrative: a young boy defeats a giant with just a sling and stone and later becomes the King of Israel. This narrative can be applied to all facets of life, which is evident in the diverse set of articles in this issue.
Sunaina Danziger challenges the idea that Donald Trump overcame substantial disadvantages and instead suggests that his anti-establishment sheen is false. Adam Friedman evaluates NBA player Stephen Curry’s journey of perseverance against his seasoned rival LeBron James. Ani Suresh analyzes the rise of Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders, two presidential candidates who were initially dismissed by the political establishment and only recognized much later as formidable forces. Marie Becker follows the lives of walk-on college athletes and how they deal with perceptions of inferiority compared to their recruited counterparts.
This is the last issue produced by the HPR’s 48th Masthead. I have had the great fortune of leading this magazine for the past year, and I would like to thank all of Masthead 48 for their hard work in further solidifying our status as a leader in political journalism. There is no doubt in my mind that we will continue to reach even greater heights under the leadership of Masthead 49.