Steve Kornacki on Election 2020 Protection and Turning into a Model Icon

Your coverage of the marathon elections was legendary. Are you still recovering

We started at 6pm on Tuesday evening. I slept a couple of hours from Wednesday to Thursday, then went straight back inside. Thursday through Friday we worked around the clock again and I was out all night. That was the night Biden took the lead in Georgia. It was three or four in the morning. There’s a board that I use in the air, and right behind it we had a couple of folding chairs and a table. I would come out of the air and sit down and my eyes would be so heavy I could have fallen asleep. But as soon as we got an update I got an energy boost and had no problem. I didn’t feel tired in the air. The election was finally scheduled on Saturday around 11:30 am and I was out of the studio by noon.

You have suddenly become a style icon for your uniform of gap khakis, white shirt and tie. Did you have to wear a uniform to school as a child?

It was a very strange thing to see the attention my clothes got just because it was so inversely related to the amount of thought I put into them. I went to a public school so we didn’t have to wear a tie. I still couldn’t even tie a tie if you asked me to. When it comes to pants, they say that consumption habits are established at a relatively young age. Well, about 20 years ago I wore these pants and said, ah, this works for me, and out of habit I just keep buying them and never think about them.

Wait, you don’t know how to tie a tie?

I learned that all you need to know is people who know how to tie ties and they will tie them for you and you can put them on and off easily. I have a shelf in my office that has three ties on it right now and they’re all tied so they’re ready to go.

How does it feel to become such a beloved public figure? You have People’s “Sexiest Man Alive!” List, celebrities have your name screaming and have been on all talk shows.

Since this is all happening during the pandemic, I don’t really feel it. It’s not like I’m going anywhere. Seeing some of the stuff online was flattering, but strange. I also think these things come and go.

What’s the strangest thing a fan sent you?

I received a couple of ties. And as I said, I can’t really tie them.

They crack statistics and data. Were you good at math in school?

I was probably the worst calculus student in my high school history. To this day I have stress dreams that I am back to trigonometry or calculus, trying to figure out the volume of a cone or sphere. But for whatever reason, I’m good at computer math, adding and subtracting on the fly. And I actually did statistics for my high school basketball team.

What was it like going from the election to the NFL playoff probability breakdown for Sunday Night Football?

It flowed naturally. I played Road to 270 on the board for two months – “If Biden wins this state but if Trump wins this state” – and it’s the same for playoffs: “See if the Steelers lose this game next week and The Bills.” win this game, it’s going to change the playoff picture so much. ”I’m a huge sports fan and follow this stuff at first so it was a really similar approach.

You wrote a book in 2018, The Red and the Blue, about the birth of tribalism in our political parties. Do you see an episode between sport and politics these days?

The tribalism of sport invades our politics. In sport, if the referee makes a call and goes against the home team, it doesn’t matter if the call is right or wrong, the crowd will make fun of it. And if the call goes in favor of the home team, the crowd will cheer, and again, it has nothing to do with whether the call itself is right or wrong. It has to do with it, did it help or harm the team we’re cheering for? It’s a healthy thing in sport, but I don’t think that’s a healthy thing in politics.

What does the rest of 2021 have in store for you?

I’m as curious as anyone about what American politics will look like in a month, three months, six months from now. There will be mid-term elections next year. There will be some gubernatorial elections this fall. The New York Mayor’s race will take place later this year. I’m sure there will be some high stakes special elections. I know wherever they are, whenever they are, whatever they are, I’ll cover them live when the voices come in.