Hello and welcome to Slatest’s 2016 Twitter Power Rankings, where we're back in action this week following the holidays. Above, you’ll find our handy interactive of the past 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 further ado:
1.) Donald Trump (Previous ranking: 2)
Hillary said that guns don't keep you safe. If she really believes that she should demand that her heavily armed bodyguards quickly disarm!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 3, 2016
2.) Bernie Sanders (1)
I am confident I would win. pic.twitter.com/MFBgoCds8u— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) January 8, 2016
3.) Hillary Clinton (3)
Thank you, @POTUS, for taking a crucial step forward on gun violence. Our next president has to build on that progress—not rip it away. -H— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) January 5, 2016
4.) Ben Carson (4)
We the People have a Constitutional right to bear arms and it is the President's responsibility to uphold that right.— Dr. Ben Carson (@RealBenCarson) January 5, 2016
5.) Carly Fiorina (12)
Donald Trump reminds me of the Kim Kardashian of politics. They’re both famous for being famous — and the media plays along.— Carly Fiorina (@CarlyFiorina) January 5, 2016
6.) Rand Paul (9)
Former head of AIG gives $10 million into Bush super Pac. Bush super Pac is using his brother's bailout money to bail out his campaign.— Dr. Rand Paul (@RandPaul) January 7, 2016
7.) Mike Huckabee (13)
8.) Marco Rubio (5)
Our enemies around the world are taking advantage of Obama's weakness. We need new leadership that will stand up (4/5)— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) January 6, 2016
9.) Ted Cruz (6)
10.) Martin O'Malley (8)
.@POTUS is right to act—every day we spend debating gun control is a day that we lose lives. One life is worth more than all gun sales. -O'M— Martin O'Malley (@MartinOMalley) January 5, 2016
11.) Jeb Bush (7)
Happy 71st Anniversary, Mom and Dad! Your love and commitment has always been an example to all of us. pic.twitter.com/CZk6UZtOQU— Jeb Bush (@JebBush) January 6, 2016
12.) John Kasich (15)
Strong win and a great season from my alma mater! Best of luck to all the players moving on! Go #Buckeyes and... ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ -John— John Kasich (@JohnKasich) January 1, 2016
13.) Jim Gilmore (17)
As a gun owner, as a parent, as a former governor and attorney general, I think Obama needs to stop trying to circumvent the Constitution.— Jim Gilmore (@gov_gilmore) January 3, 2016
14.) Chris Christie (14)
15.) Rick Santorum (10)
Overall and Single RT Winner: Donald Trump
That's 13 in a row in the overall category for the blustery billionaire. While most of his rivals tend to train their fire on the current Democrat in the White House, Trump routinely finds success by taking aim at the one trying to replace him next year.
Everyone's Talking About: Guns
More than a third of the candidates recorded their top tweet by playing to their respective crowds on guns, a topic that Obama put front and center this week with his newly announced executive actions—as well as his ongoing PR campaign to sell them to a public that likes the proposals but not Obama's decision to circumvent Congress to implement them. Just how much do Twitter users like to RT a presidential hopeful talking about guns? See: Jim Gilmore in 13th place.
Gone and Quickly Forgotten: Lindsey Graham and George Pataki
Both veterans of the JV debate stage called it quits since our previous power rankings in mid-December.