Hello and welcome to Week 7 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 which 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.) Ben Carson (Last week: 4)
2.) Bernie Sanders (1)
If the environment were a bank it would have been saved by now.— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) October 8, 2015
3.) Hillary Clinton (3)
4.) Donald Trump (2)
For all of my fantastic supporters, and for the U.S.A., we are going to win and MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN, maybe greater than ever before!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 5, 2015
5.) Ted Cruz (5)
6.) Mike Huckabee (7)
There were 50 shootings in Chicago the past two weekends, and this administration failed to utter a word. Why? #UCCshooting— Gov. Mike Huckabee (@GovMikeHuckabee) October 2, 2015
7.) Carly Fiorina (12)
8.) John Kasich (15)
9.) Rand Paul (10)
I can't vote to raise the debt ceiling, that's like giving someone drunk more liquor #CenterSeat— Dr. Rand Paul (@RandPaul) October 7, 2015
10.) Jeb Bush (8)
Liberal Dems & some in media distorted my words to advance their agenda in wake of tragedy. It's wrong. Thx to those who set record straight— Jeb Bush (@JebBush) October 2, 2015
11.) Marco Rubio (11)
Praying for all those affected by the horrific violence in Oregon. Thankful for the heroic actions of first responders and law enforcement.— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) October 2, 2015
12.) Bobby Jindal (14)
13.) Martin O'Malley (6)
14.) George Pataki (13)
15.) Rick Santorum (9)
16.) Jim Webb (20)
Neither the United Nations nor NATO has power to bring the US into an elective war w/o the consent of our Congress. https://t.co/W47XQqG3OJ— Jim Webb (@JimWebbUSA) October 5, 2015
17.) Lindsey Graham (18)
To the people of SC, to the first responders, to all who have been involved in trying to take care of your fellow citizens, God bless you.— Lindsey Graham (@LindseyGrahamSC) October 6, 2015
18.) Lawrence Lessig (17)
19.) Chris Christie (16)
20.) Lincoln Chafee (19)
21.) Jim Gilmore (21)
I reject Trump's plan to deport illegal immigrants and make America a permanent police state.... pic.twitter.com/XQppTNo7pB— James S Gilmore (@gov_gilmore) October 2, 2015
Single Tweet Winner: Ben Carson
Viewed in a vacuum, Carson’s #IamaChristian tweet—a reference to last week’s shooting in Oregon, where the gunman allegedly asked his victims whether they were Christian before he shot them—could generously be seen as an act of solidarity with anyone who has been persecuted for his or her religion. Viewed in light of the rest of Carson’s comments on the matter, though, the tweet looks like one more display of empty, counter-factual bravery from a man who seems to believe that the mass shooting would have played out differently if he would have been there to help take down the gunman, and that Jews would have beaten the Nazis if only they had been armed.
Overall RT Winner: Trump. Again.
Trump accounted for nearly half of all the retweets in the entire 2016 field this week, and once again took the top spot with some help from his usual social media tricks: He took swipes at his rivals and the press, he tried to use his Caps-lock button to MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN, and he manually retweeted a whole bunch of random supporters. But one thing was new this week: The Donald actually came to the defense of a rival. “Ben Carson was speaking in general terms as to what he would do if confronted with a gunman, and was not criticizing the victims,” Trump tweeted. “Not fair!”
Overshadowed again: Jeb Bush.
Bush made his own controversial comments in the wake of the Roseburg shooting, seeming to suggest last Friday that—at the very least—the tragedy was an isolated incident, and not part of a larger problem that requires prompt federal action. The good news for Jeb, though, was that by the middle of this week the press had largely moved on from Bush’s third-person indifference to Carson’s first-person insensitivity. The bad news for Jeb? Once again, everyone was talking about someone else ahead of him in the polls.