Satire | Ode to Steve Kornacki

By Leah Mensch, Opinions Editor

One of my friends saw a meme that said something along the lines of “2020 gave us five Aprils and then five Tuesdays,” by which she meant, Election Day turned into Election Week. 

During Election week, my diet was essentially composed of alcohol, pinto beans, coffee and Oreos — the latter of which I ate an entire sleeve of on Election Day. On Election Night, I stayed up until 4 a.m. because Wisconsin was so close, but the Associated Press didn’t even call it until after noon on Wednesday. For 24 hours, I basically listened to Chris Hayes say “Maricopa County,” and “too close to call” in a variation of voice tones and pitches. I hardly left MSNBC for the rest of the week, because I had a fear they were going to call the election and I was going to miss it. Also, I was stressed. By Wednesday night, the only two things keeping me tethered to reality was the fact that MSNBC kept talking about Allegheny County, and of course, Stephen Joseph Kornacki. 

In case you’ve been living under a rock since Election Day, Steve Kornacki is MSNBC’s star political analyst. Before Election Night, he was just a national political correspondent for NBC and MSNBC. By Nov. 5, he was “the sleepless legend.” Around 5 p.m. on Election Day, Kornacki tweeted a photo of his notes and said he would not be “leaving until we’ve got a result.” Election Day lasted five entire days. He stood by his word. 

Must I tell you why he is a legend? Probably not, but I’m going to anyway. 

I admit, I had no idea who this man was before I started watching election coverage. At first, I kept getting Steve Kornacki mixed up with John Krasinski, who plays Jim in “The Office.” I also kept thinking of this essay by Tim Kreider called “A Man and His Cat,” but for Steve Kornacki, it was “A Man and His Map.” I could not tell any of my friends about this because it is not actually that funny of a joke, and nobody else I know even knows about Kreider’s essay because nobody else I know has read “Best American Essays 2015” for fun. My point is, I first knew him as this random man who loved his map. And then a guy who somehow did not run out of energy and, at the time, he had not changed his khakis in over 24 hours. 

This man was still going on Thursday, and he still had not changed his pants — and it had been almost 48 hours. By this point, the general public — and celebrities — started to take notice. 

“I honestly dunno how steve is still going im bout to die,” Chrissy Teigen tweeted

I didn’t sleep during election week because I was stressed, but also, I felt like I was betraying Steve Kornacki everytime I rested my eyes. And, other people agreed. 

“I SLEEP WHEN KORNACKI SLEEPS,” someone tweeted the Friday before the election was called. 

For like five minutes later Thursday evening, Ali Velshi took over to give Kornacki a break, and said that there might have been restraints involved. Velshi is a great analyst, and held his own with the map, but he didn’t love the map the way Kornacki did. Velshi also changed his pants. This break lasted, as I said, five minutes. 

“Forget grabbing sleep, there’s still votes coming in in PA.” Kornacki tweeted at 11:48 p.m. on Nov. 5. “I’m heading back to the studio. In the old days, there was USA Up All Night. Tonight, it’ll be MSNBC Up All Night. Come on along for the ride.” 

I loathe capitalist hustle culture — the pride in never taking a break, the pride in not resting. But honestly, I don’t think Steve Kornacki’s five day stretch of no sleep and not changing his pants had as much to do with capitalism as it did a man who just loves his maps. Maybe I’m being a hypocrite, but he gets a pass here. 

Basically half of America thinks Steve Kornacki is a legend. He became a TikTok trend, and someone made a “Kornacki stan account” on Instagram. People are calling him the “Chartthrob.” He never changed his pants, and once he clarified they were from GAP, GAP reported a 90% increase in khaki sales.  

I know nobody cares, but I realized, on Saturday, that I hadn’t showered since Tuesday, and I heard MSNBC say that they wouldn’t be getting more Pennsylvania results for at least another half hour. I decided to take a speedy five minute shower because I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror, and I looked abhorrent. When I turned the shower off, I heard MSNBC say, “one of the youngest people ever elected to the U.S. Senate,” and I walked out in a towel, and saw a blue check mark above Joseph R. Biden Jr. — the projected winner of the 2020 election. 

I am so proud of Pennsylvania for swinging blue — though obviously, I wish the election hadn’t been so close. I could be mad that I watched MSNBC for an entire week straight and missed the final call, but honestly, I watched MSNBC — rather than frantically refreshing the New York Times map —  mostly for Steve anyway. I know the battle for change isn’t over. But I do not miss Election Week. I sure do miss Steve Kornacki and his maps, though. 

Write to Leah at [email protected]. Follow Steve Kornacki on Twitter at @SteveKornacki.