MSNBC 'map daddy' Steve Kornacki emerges as election #chartthrob

Armed with a giant touchscreeen, a calculator and mad math skills, Kornacki emerges as an unlikely hero of the contentious election.

Amanda Kooser
Amanda Kooser
Freelance writer Amanda C. Kooser covers gadgets and tech news with a twist for CNET. When not wallowing in weird gear and iPad apps for cats, she can be found tinkering with her 1956 DeSoto.
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Election followers hanging on every vote tally from the hotly contested US presidential race this week have found a spark of joy from high-energy, math-tastic, khaki-clad MSNBC national political correspondent Steve Kornacki.

The election may be divisive as President Donald Trump dukes it out with Democrat challenger Joe Biden, but Twitter  appeared united in its love for Kornacki's on-the-fly math skills and ability to function for hours on end with no sleep. 

The playfulness kicked into high gear when Twitter dubbed Kornacki "map daddy" for his marathon appearances in front of a giant US map used to track the evolving vote totals. 

"My sexual orientation is Kornacki with a calculator," television writer and product Bryan Fuller of Hannibal and Star Trek fame tweeted

Comedian Leslie Jones shared multiple Kornacki videos enhanced with her own commentary, tweeting, "I think I love him."

Twitter's obsession may be blurring the lines between love and lust. The New Yorker staff writer Emily Nussbaum arrived with a timely assessment of Kornacki fever: "There's a warped period during every political crisis when people suddenly get super-thirsty for newscasters and this is that time."

Kornacki trended so hard on Twitter this week, he earned his own custom emoji that popped up with the hashtag #TrackingKornacki. It showed the analyst pointing upward at a blue and red chart. 

It wasn't just Twitter that fell for the #chartthrob. TikTok users swooned over his mental math gymnastics too. 

MSNBC host Ali Velshi has been just as entranced by Kornacki's endurance as the rest of us. "Sometime in the next few hours, I will actually tackle Steve Kornacki and physically push him toward a bed somewhere, after which I will imitate him at the big board for a few hours," Velshi tweeted on Friday morning. "Restraints may or may not be involved."

Kornacki has some serious political chops. Besides his work as a television correspondent, he is the author of the 2018 book The Red and the Blue: The 1990s and the Birth of Political Tribalism.

Kornacki gained 165K new followers this week, according to Siobhan Murphy of Twitter's communications team, and now has more than half a million Twitter followers. The map daddy acknowledged his loving fans in a video posted by MSNBC on Wednesday. "I just wanted to say thank you," he said in response to "all these incredibly kind and friendly and nice messages on social media."

With the count continuing, Kornacki seems to be tapping into a supernatural well of energy, which he's attributed in an interview with GQ to Diet Coke and adrenaline. One day, this election will be over, but Kornacki will remain as the duly elected leader of viewers' hearts.