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John King on the Election Week wait, math and his Magic Wall

TikTok swooned for him. Some in the UK wanted him flown in to cover elections there, reports the Colombia Journalism Review. “I want to give John King a little board where he can zoom in on different parts of my life and explain what’s wrong with me,” one election watcher tweeted Friday.

King’s analytical patter as votes came in was punctuated by repeated reassurances that nothing was wrong with the marathon wait, that the political process was working as it should — and that it would all be ok. This was important, as President Donald Trump incited tensions with blatantly false claims that the election was being stolen from him with irregularities meant to benefit Democratic nominee Joe Biden.

While nerves frayed and the wait for the result dragged on, Meanwhile checked in with the veteran political sage and “Inside Politics” host.

“People on both sides are incredibly anxious about this,” King told Meanwhile. “If we can, I see it as critical to lay out the facts and, as long as the facts support it, make clear things are going as designed.”

After covering eight previous elections, he said he doesn’t really practice breaking down the numbers on the Magic Wall before Election Day. “But I do read and study Census and state voting/economic data to understand population trends.”

How would he improve the electronic map that’s become his hallmark, perhaps for 2024? “Espresso brewer on the left; beer tap on right? I am truly in awe of our New Media team. We brainstormed dozens of ideas and added some helpful tools this year (like a replay function).”

“Maybe a calculator function so the world doesn’t get to see my messy scribble again,” he volunteered.

But he’s not stressed by the prospect of having to tally the latest ballot counts himself, if he has to, King said, “I don’t fear math. It is what politics ultimately comes down to and I have been doing this for a long time.”
Favorite county? “I have visited all 50 states many times – a blessing of my work – so truly don’t have a single favorite. They all teach us something. There are some bellwethers in presidential politics I keep an eye on. Vigo in Indiana has picked the national winner back to 1956. (Streak About to be broken). Erie PA is a harbinger court. Stark OH. Pinellas FL. Now Maricopa AZ.”
And asked whether he followed any electoral processes abroad, King told Meanwhile, “I think our system works for us, though there could be a conversation about some hybrid compromise, if possible, in the popular vote/electoral college debate. But adding a “question time” (PMQs) tradition where the President had to go before Congress once a month for question time like in the UK parliament would be fun and helpful to push more conversation between the parties. “




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