2016 Twitter power rankings: Donald Trump finds safe harbor during this week’s campaign storm.

Even During a Rough Week, Donald Trump Can Still Count on Twitter

Even During a Rough Week, Donald Trump Can Still Count on Twitter

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The Slatest
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Sept. 25 2015 5:20 PM

This Week's 2016 Twitter Power Rankings

Is it really a surprise this man does so well on Twitter? Above, Donald Trump addresses a rally against the Iran nuclear deal on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol on September 9, 2015.

Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Click on a candidate to zoom in.
Interactive by Andrew Kahn

Hello and welcome to Week 5 of the Slatest’s 2016 Twitter Power Rankings. Above, you’ll find our handy interactive of the entire week’s worth of candidate tweets: how many each White House hopeful sent and how often they were retweeted and favorited, along with how each fared in the 140-character fight with their political rivals on both sides of the aisle. (Click to zoom in on a particular candidate, and click again to see the content of each tweet.)

Below, meanwhile, you’ll find our tried-and-true method of ranking each candidate’s single most successful tweet of the past seven days. Together, the two offer a helpful snapshot of what topics dominated the political conversation online, and also give us some insight into which contenders are winning the campaign Twitter wars and why.


The ground rules again:

  • For the rankings below, we’re defining a candidate’s most successful tweet as the one that receives the most retweets.
  • Tweets that include a direct request for a retweet are ineligible for the traditional rankings because that’s cheating. RT if you agree! (Retweet-begging tweets, though, will still appear in the interactive at the top.)
  • Only tweets from the past seven days are eligible. Since we’ll publish the weekly rankings every Friday, that means any tweet sent in the seven days prior to when we hit the big red button at around 10 a.m. to cull all the data.

You’ll find this week’s takeaways at the bottom, but without any further ado:

1.) Bernie Sanders (Last week: 2)


2.) Donald Trump (4)

3.) Hillary Clinton (3)

4.) Ben Carson (5)

5.) Rand Paul (6)


6.) Ted Cruz (8)

7.) Jeb Bush (1)

8.) Mike Huckabee (10)

9.) Marco Rubio (9)


10.) Carly Fiorina (7)

11.) Martin O'Malley (16)

12.) Lindsey Graham (18)

13.) John Kasich (15)


14.) Rick Santorum (17)

15.) Bobby Jindal (12)

16.) Chris Christie (13)

17.) George Pataki (11)


18.) Lincoln Chafee (19)

19.) Jim Webb (21)

20.) Lawrence Lessig (20)

21.) Jim Gilmore (22)

Overall RT Winner: Trump!

The Donald may have had a rough week on the campaign trail, but he once again showed his uncanny ability to steal the social media spotlight when he needs to. He accounted for more RTs by himself than the rest of the 2016 field did combined. His top tweet—“Obama has been horrible, I will be great”—was such classic Trump that I’m a little surprised he hasn’t slapped it on a campaign hat. Meanwhile, he continued to feed the media beast with a few of his favorite party tricks: feuding with Fox News, hyping his own polling numbers, and taking swipes at the GOP’s newest flavor of the week. The Donald’s become oddly predictable of late, but that hasn’t hurt him on a medium tailor-made for trolls.

Single Tweet Winner: Bernie!

Ben Carson may have been playing to his base when he said that he’d never support putting “a Muslim in charge of this nation”—but by doing so, he also allowed his Democratic rivals to play to their own. Sanders, Clinton, and Chafee all treated Carson’s anti-Muslim comment like the low-hanging, RT-flavored fruit that it was, but it was Sanders who came out on top this week.

Gone But Not Forgotten (Just Yet): Scott Walker.

Scott Walker packed up campaign signs and went home to Wisconsin this week, ending what was once a promising bid for his party’s nomination. Rubio, Kasich, Christie, and Gilmore all sent their former rival off in style with 140-character salutes, which earned them all their top tweets of the week. Unfortunately for Walker, though, those kind words won’t pay his campaign bills.

Josh Voorhees is a Slate senior writer. He lives in northeast Ohio.

Andrew Kahn is Slate’s assistant interactives editor. Follow him on Twitter.