Hello and welcome to Week 16 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.
Without any further ado:
1.) Bernie Sanders (Last week: 1)
Repeat after me: We must combat anti-Muslim bigotry and all forms of discrimination in our country and in our world. #GOPDebate— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) December 16, 2015
2.) Donald Trump (2)
3.) Hillary Clinton (3)
4.) Ben Carson (10)
Lead us tonight Lord, take these hands in yours, make clear our path -- though we stumble as a people, your grace lights the way back home.— Dr. Ben Carson (@RealBenCarson) December 16, 2015
5.) Marco Rubio (7)
If you elect me president, we will have a president that believes America is the greatest country in the world, and acts like it. #GOPDebate— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) December 16, 2015
6.) Ted Cruz (13)
7.) Jeb Bush (5)
8.) Martin O'Malley (4)
Together, inshallah, we will overcome these challenges.— Martin O'Malley (@MartinOMalley) December 11, 2015
9.) Rand Paul (7)
We are not a stronger nation if we go further into debt. I'm the only conservative on this stage because I'm willing to hold the line.— Dr. Rand Paul (@RandPaul) December 16, 2015
10.) Rick Santorum (14)
11.) George Pataki (6)
12.) Carly Fiorina (11)
A feminist is a woman who lives the life she chooses. https://t.co/BGsOzy3p17— Carly Fiorina (@CarlyFiorina) December 16, 2015
13.) Mike Huckabee (16)
14.) Chris Christie (15)
15.) John Kasich (12)
"We are Republicans and they are Democrats, but before that we are Americans." -Gov. John Kasich #GOPDebate— John Kasich (@JohnKasich) December 16, 2015
16.) Lindsey Graham (16)
I suggest Mr. Trump visit the Ukraine and Syrian refugee camps to see if Putin is really respected and deserves praise.— Lindsey Graham (@LindseyGrahamSC) December 17, 2015
17.) Jim Gilmore (17)
Single RT Winner: Bernie Sanders
The good news for Bernie is that he was able to capitalize on Trump's disgustingly xenophobic and dangerously short-sighted plan for the second week in the row to grab a victory in the single RT category. The bad news? The Trumpification of the national security debate has sucked all the oxygen out of the room and left Sanders' always-on-message campaign gasping for air on the trail.
Overall RT: Winner: Donald Trump
That's 12 in a row in this category for Trump, who routinely accounts for about half of the total RTs garnered by the entire field in a given week. In the 13 weeks we've been tracking an overall winner, Trump's fallen from the top spot only once (when #DebateWithBernie stole the social media spotlight).
Best Response from a Random Account: This one, which was the very first reply to Christie's tweet calling Obama a "feckless weakling."