Hello and welcome to Slatest’s 2016 Twitter Power Rankings. 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.) Bernie Sanders (Last week: 2)
2.) Donald Trump (1)
The #SOTU speech is really boring, slow, lethargic - very hard to watch!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 13, 2016
3.) Hillary Clinton (3)
4.) Ben Carson (4)
While President Obama is complaining about global warming 10 of our American sailors are held in Iranian custody. #SOTU— Dr. Ben Carson (@RealBenCarson) January 13, 2016
5.) Jeb Bush (11)
6.) Ted Cruz (9)
7.) Marco Rubio (8)
Hillary Clinton is disqualified from being Commander-in-Chief. #GOPDebate— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) January 15, 2016
8.) Martin O'Malley (10)
No POTUS in modern times inherited bigger challenges than @POTUS. Blessed for his leadership, thankful for his service. Let's build on it.— Martin O'Malley (@MartinOMalley) January 13, 2016
9.) Rand Paul (6)
10.) Mike Huckabee (7)
11.) Carly Fiorina (5)
President Obama once again proved that he is a politician, not a leader. https://t.co/xomHZTrnoq— Carly Fiorina (@CarlyFiorina) January 13, 2016
12.) Rick Santorum (15)
WH says our sailors are being given courtesies? This is feckless. WH is endangering our troops. Demand their return NOW!— Rick Santorum (@RickSantorum) January 12, 2016
13.) John Kasich (12)
14.) Chris Christie (14)
15.) Jim Gilmore (13)
Latest from my campaign trip to West Palm Beach: GOP debate exclusion 'injustice' https://t.co/58J7Un1Abv— Jim Gilmore (@gov_gilmore) January 14, 2016
Overall Winner: Donald Trump
That's 13 in a row in this category for the GOP polling front-runner. President Obama's final State of the Union didn't live up to the expectations set for it by the White House—but another explanation for why Trump found it so hard to watch may be that he was the unspoken (but obvious) target of several of Obama's jabs. (South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley took a few swipes at the Donald in the GOP rebuttal, as well.)
Single RT Winner: Bernie Sanders
The Clinton campaign—already hitting Sanders from the left on guns—recently opened up a second front against Bernie from the right, warning voters that his universal health care plan will likely require a middle-class tax hike. Chelsea Clinton, acting as her mother’s surrogate, then took this line of attack to it’s not-so-logical conclusion on Tuesday, suggesting that Sanders wants to “dismantle Medicare,” which, as my colleague Jim Newell has already noted, is a really odd way of saying “provide Medicare to everyone.” Bernie responded the following day by showing off a rather apropos keepsake from 1993, the year Hillary, then-first lady, tried and failed to push her own health care reform package through Congress.
Unexpected Winner: Green Apples
Jeb's tweet is a reference to a Jimmy Kimmel Live bit from this week that featured Miami hip-hop impresario and Snapchat advice-giver DJ Khaled offering a motivational speech of sorts to the former GOP front-runner. "Jeb Bush, I appreciate you," DJ Khaled said in that video. "You a leader. You a Bush. Another one. Sh*t got real for you, Jeb Bush. They don't want you to win. They don't want you to have breakfast. A healthy breakfast of food, green apple. That's the key: Apple." Other "keys": believing in yourself, sneakers, watering your own plants, and cocoa butter. Yeah, maybe it's better if you just watch it yourself:
Bush went on to have one of his better debate performances of his less-than-stellar campaign on Thursday night (admittedly a low bar), and then locked up a more-meaningful-than-you-might-expect endorsement from Lindsey Graham the following morning. Jeb-mentum, baby! Maybe it's the green apples—or the cocoa butter.