An Ode to John King, CNN’s Statistician Magician

In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes… and that John King will wow you on Election Night (and in some years, apparently beyond!) with his working of CNN’s “Magic Wall” tote board.

So as millions of votes continue to be very legally counted in the 2020 presidential race between incumbent Donald Trump and Democratic challenger Joe Biden, let’s collectively exhale and take a moment to hail the tote-board king.

This is what makes elections fun.”

Yes, John King’s definition of “fun” is up for debate, but watching him work his Magic Wall on Tuesday night, for starters, was nonetheless engaging — and entertaining, especially in the early going when a breathless Wolf Blitzer would march over to his colleague for the 20th check-in on Florida in as many minutes. Patience for Blitzer’s Dory-like memory (only four percent of Miami-Dade County is in, man!) is clearly among King’s virtues, right alongside his mastery of the touch screen.

When he is not reminding us, again, that “that’s the thing Trump does,” running up the votes in carefully curated counties, King can drop the occasional quotable, such as when he unwittingly stated in passing, “Sometimes a big dump changes everything” — as in the release of a new batch of vote tallies, people. Though the one to top on Tuesday night was: “We always knew if Joe Biden could rebuild the blue wall, Donald Trump would pay for it.” Ba-dum-bum!

King’s Election Night wizardry is almost as much a topic of social media as, “What the heck is a congressional district?,” drawing a steady stream of reverential tweets, including from the “blue checkmark” crowd.

“Dat boy John King been on his feet since 7pm. No chair, no Gatorade, no arch support. CNN cold blooded,” marveled The Daily Show‘s Roy Wood Jr. “Get that man a stool or one of them rolling office chairs.”

“Regardless of your political affiliation, one thing we can agree on is John King isn’t a man, he’s a damn machine,” SiriusXM host Brad Evans declared. “His memory bank and mastery of the touchscreen is remarkable.”

A common refrain is to liken King’s rare, on-camera Election Night breaks to the classic SportsCenter commercial:

Was King your map-a-magician on this Election Night? Or did you get your drill-downs on Kenosha County elsewhere?

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