U.S. presidential elections have a knack for drumming up new terms and catchphrases that permeate pop culture for months or even years after the winner has taken office.
The 2000 contest between former Vice President Al Gore and former President George W. Bush introduced “hanging chads,” a term used to describe ballots improperly punched, to a global audience. Former President Barack Obama became synonymous with the word “hope” during his first run for the office in 2008. And among the verbiage that President Trump has become associated with is the acronym MAGA—short for his 2016 campaign slogan “Make American Great Again,” not to mention a close cousin to the late former President Ronald Reagan’s 1980 slogan, “Let’s Make America Great Again.”
The 2020 presidential race, however, may go down in history as the time when “Kornacki khakis” became a nationwide distraction during the nail-biting electoral count.
MSNBC data expert Steve Kornacki became a national obsession last week as the network’s Electoral College “map guy,” a gig that required him to be on air for the majority of the four days that it took networks to call the race—and he did so while wearing Gap khaki pants.
Creating the hashtag #TrackingKornacki as well as the nicknames “map daddy” and “chart-throb,” viewers stirred up a tweet storm about Kornacki and his khaki pants, a garment that he confirmed owning by the multiples. Former “SNL” star Leslie Jones fanned the flames by posting on Twitter live commentary about Kornacki’s pants. Meanwhile, model and cookbook author Chrissy Teigen shared her new phone background—a collage of Kornacki photos—with her followers.
After multiple media outlets reported Kornacki’s khakis came from Gap, the “Today” show reported that the company saw a huge boost in sales. A Gap spokesperson confirmed to Today that the retailer had seen a “dramatic increase in online traffic and within a day.” The retailer stated that it saw a 90 percent unit sales increase online.
The khakis in question are Gap’s Modern Khakis with GapFlex in “palomino brown.” Available in both slim and straight fits, the pants are made with a stain-resistant twill weave and 2 percent spandex for a touch of stretch. The khakis retail for $59.95.
Gap’s khaki craze is just the latest in several unexpected yet high-profile moments this year, beginning with its upcoming collaboration with Kanye West’s Yeezy line—a collection that should hit stores early next year if everything goes as planned.
The brand was also the recipient of some post-election backlash when a tweet promoting a hybridized red and blue hoodie featuring its signature logo, accompanied by the message, “The one thing we know, is that together, we can move forward,” fell flat with followers.
Twitter user @itsalexberg summed up the internet’s reaction with the simple tweet, “@Gap wow, thank you for solving our country’s political crisis with this sweatshirt. courageous.” Teigen joined the chorus, too, and joked, “yay, we can just walk sideways depending on the city we’re in.”