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)
People should be elected to office based on their ideas, not their religion or the color of their skin.— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) September 20, 2015
2.) Donald Trump (4)
Christians need support in our country (and around the world), their religious liberty is at stake! Obama has been horrible, I will be great— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 19, 2015
3.) Hillary Clinton (3)
Can a Muslim be President of the United States of America? In a word: Yes. Now let's move on. -H pic.twitter.com/AB99hiUPie— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) September 21, 2015
4.) Ben Carson (5)
Saddened to see that the Senate has blocked a bill that would have increased protection of innocent life. All life is worth protecting.— Dr. Ben Carson (@RealBenCarson) September 22, 2015
5.) Rand Paul (6)
6.) Ted Cruz (8)
7.) Jeb Bush (1)
.@HillaryClinton Your political machine’s 9/11 ad is disgraceful. As a New Yorker you know the leadership my brother provided after 9/11— Jeb Bush (@JebBush) September 20, 2015
8.) Mike Huckabee (10)
Driving through SC last night & we refused to take this left. We took a right and headed toward "Prosperity." pic.twitter.com/vuZmZl3e1W— Gov. Mike Huckabee (@GovMikeHuckabee) September 23, 2015
9.) Marco Rubio (9)
Republicans are lucky to have Scott on our team, and I wish the best to him and his family.— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) September 21, 2015
10.) Carly Fiorina (7)
11.) Martin O'Malley (16)
Shame on you, @realDonaldTrump. “Muslim” is not a slur. You cannot scapegoat your way to the presidency. -O'M— Martin O'Malley (@MartinOMalley) September 18, 2015
12.) Lindsey Graham (18)
@RealBenCarson is not ready to be Commander-In-Chief. America is an idea, not owned by a particular religion.— Lindsey Graham (@LindseyGrahamSC) September 20, 2015
13.) John Kasich (15)
Make no mistake, a strong leader like @ScottWalker has a bright future & is a model for other governors. Good luck, Scott! -John— John Kasich (@JohnKasich) September 21, 2015
14.) Rick Santorum (17)
The Senate must vote to defund #PlannedParenthood today and hold firm. If we do not stand up to these vile acts, what will we stand up to?— Rick Santorum (@RickSantorum) September 24, 2015
15.) Bobby Jindal (12)
Sorry to see @realDonaldTrump cancel on event today w/ Sen DeMint & Gov Haley. Filing for bankruptcy again? Perhaps 5th time is the charm…— Gov. Bobby Jindal (@BobbyJindal) September 18, 2015
16.) Chris Christie (13)
I wish @ScottWalker all the best. He's a great Governor, a fighter & a good friend. I know he will continue to work hard for our party & WI.— Chris Christie (@ChrisChristie) September 21, 2015
17.) George Pataki (11)
18.) Lincoln Chafee (19)
.@realBenCarson shames himself and the Constitution with Muslim president comment. Bigotry is incompatible with the values of this nation.— Lincoln Chafee (@LincolnChafee) September 21, 2015
19.) Jim Webb (21)
20.) Lawrence Lessig (20)
21.) Jim Gilmore (22)
My best wishes to Gov. Walker. I am confident he will continue to provide great leadership for Wiscosin and America.— James S Gilmore (@gov_gilmore) September 21, 2015
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.