Bernie's Doc Brown tweet tops 2016 power rankings.

If Doc Brown’s Calculations Are Correct … Bernie Won Twitter This Week

If Doc Brown’s Calculations Are Correct … Bernie Won Twitter This Week

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The Slatest
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Oct. 23 2015 3:54 PM

This Week’s 2016 Twitter Power Rankings

Michael J. Fox and Christopher Lloyd in Back to the Future Part ,Michael J. Fox and Christopher Lloyd in Back to the Future Part II (1989).
Michael J. Fox and Christopher Lloyd in Back to the Future Part II (1989).

Photo courtesy Universal Studios

Rectangles are sized by number of retweets. Click on a candidate to zoom in.
Interactive by Andrew Kahn

Welcome to Week 9 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.) Bernie Sanders (Last week: 2)


2.) Donald Trump  (1)

3.) Hillary Clinton (4)

4.) Jeb Bush (6)

5.) John Kasich (7)


6.) Ben Carson (5)

7.) Ted Cruz (8)

8.) Rand Paul (11)

9.) Marco Rubio (9)


10.) Mike Huckabee (3)

11.) Martin O'Malley (13)

12.) George Pataki (14)

13.) Carly Fiorina (16)


14.) Bobby Jindal (10)

15.) Rick Santorum (12)

16.) Lindsey Graham (15)

17.) Lawrence Lessig (19)


18.) Chris Christie (20)

19.) Jim Gilmore (21)

Single Tweet Winner: Bernie and Doc Brown

Sanders struck social media gold after crossing paths with Christopher Lloyd backstage during a taping of Jimmy Kimmel Live!. Of course, Back to the Future doesn’t have the most sterling track record when it comes to predicting winners and losers. Then again, maybe that’s not the point.

Overall RT Winner: Donald

Yep, again. Given the general fact-free nature of his campaign, it’s fitting that his most successful tweet of the week was climate science–denying nonsense.

Gone and Quickly Forgotten: Jim Webb and Lincoln Chafee

The two long-shot candidates pulled the plugs on their respective Democratic campaigns this week—a fact that went entirely uncommented upon by Clinton and Sanders on Twitter. The two leading Democrats did, however, both find time to wish Joe Biden well after the veep announced he wouldn’t make a late entry into the nominating contest.

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

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