The hottest guy of 2020 is standing in a Midtown Manhattan office building in front of a huge electronic screen. He’s wearing Gap khaki pants and a wrinkled button-down shirt for the fourth day in a row. But as he rattles off stats about voter turnout in Sumter County, Florida, for the presidential election, half this country is falling in love with his sensible brown haircut.
He’s MSNBC map guy Steve Kornacki. If you’ve never heard of him, Kornacki is an out gay reporter who serves as a national political correspondent for NBC News. Now, thanks to Twitter and the fact that we’re all glued to our TVs this week, he’s gained a horny fanbase called Hornackis.
How did the world fall in love with a guy that looks like he could be your accountant or uncle or both? Certainly, part of the appeal is novelty. Not since your STAT100 professor has someone been so in love with an electronic whiteboard. And only once every two years do we all sit down and listen, absolutely riveted, as a dude gives us stats on specific counties in Nevada.
I can’t wrap my head around our sudden obsession with Kornacki. My best guess? His normalcy during an unpredictable week is the appeal. As former SNL head writer Chris Kelly said on Twitter, “Steve Kornacki is who your mom pictures you’ll be as a way of coping when you first come out to her.” Many believe that Kornacki is helping to normalize honesty and intelligence as sexy traits.
But that’s missing a key piece of the puzzle. He’s sexy because he reminds us of safety and balance. His eroticism is rooted in being banal and steadfast, which is everything Trump is not. When we don’t know if our country is going to turn into a fascist state, the one solace we have is to trust that a nice-looking white guy has an answer. This is, after all, what America has historically tried to sell us as the unrelenting voice of reason.
Kornacki is a stallion on screen, and he’s been mythologized for an unstoppable work ethic. He’s spent virtually every waking hour since Election Day high-wired and rattling off Biden’s chances of edging toward victory. We cheer him on for his insomnia and high Diet Coke consumption because (this time) he’s giving Democrats good news, so we don’t question if his reporting is taking a physical toll and what it might say about our craving for politics as sport and 24-hour news as entertainment.
As the darling of the week, he’s received the profile treatment by way of a GQ food diary, Vulture oral history and countless articles praising his on-screen marathon. In the absence of regular TV programming this week, Kornacki is our MVP of MSNBC. We’ve turned a practical political journalist into an adonis — the sexiest map daddy alive.
He’s not alone. In the absence of celebrities posting Instagram thirst traps and Netflix releasing a new show with a hot lead to lust after, there’s an entire team of clean-cut white guys with brown hair and blue button-downs who’ve become unlikely sex icons this week. Fellow MSNBC reporters Jacob Soboroff and Gadi Schwartz received the fancam treatment (a video montage stans create to honor pop stars), while CNN’s John King is Kornacki’s big-board rival. The higher they roll up their sleeves, the more risqué they’ve become.
There’s also Georgia senate candidate Jon Ossoff, deemed the hottest guy in your Hebrew school class. “Jon, we know you may be taken, but if you are elected to the Senate, you can be ALL of Jewish America’s husband,” Zach Schiffman wrote for Alma.
Okay, wanting to fuck our politicians and political commentators isn’t a new trend. This phenomenon can be traced back to the 1960s where the roots of the modern-day Democratic party formed by way of President John. F. Kennedy. The myth of Camelot ushered in the idea of a fuckable commander-in-chief. I’m guilty of this too, having recently declared JFK’s grandson Jack Schlossberg politics’ first sexy shitposter.
In recent years, former Rep. Beto O’Rourke, Prime Minister of Canada Justin Trudeau and even President of France Emmanuel Macron have all been labeled political hunks. Hell, even disgraced Republican Reps. Aaron Schock and Paul Ryan showed off their ripped bodies for Men’s Health. It just seems the only way to make policy and polling numbers sexy is to make a distinguished but relatably hot white man as the face of these measurements.
Call it the Walter Cronkite effect, but perhaps he’s what we’re searching for in Kornacki, Ossoff or any of these other clean-cut white political types: someone to tell us it’s all going to be okay. We’re horny for stability. And historically, no one has the privilege to weather a storm as successfully as a pleasant white guy.