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.) Donald Trump (Last week: 2)
More radical Islam attacks today - it never ends! Strengthen the borders, we must be vigilant and smart. No more being politically correct.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 16, 2016
2.) Bernie Sanders (1)
3.) Hillary Clinton (3)
4.) Ben Carson (4)
Rest In Peace Braden Joplin. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family. pic.twitter.com/p87TCnD44p— Dr. Ben Carson (@RealBenCarson) January 20, 2016
5.) Marco Rubio (7)
No one is going to force you to believe in God. But no one is going to force me to stop talking about God.— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) January 20, 2016
6.) John Kasich (13)
7.) Ted Cruz (6)
8.) Rand Paul (9)
9.) Carly Fiorina (11)
Hillary Clinton has escaped prosecution more times than El Chapo. https://t.co/2UQ4ulN2Hf— Carly Fiorina (@CarlyFiorina) January 15, 2016
10.) Martin O'Malley (8)
We cannot keep talking past each other. We are one. We must help each other if we want to succeed. #DemDebate— Martin O'Malley (@MartinOMalley) January 18, 2016
11.) Mike Huckabee (10)
12.) Jeb Bush (5)
Welcome to the fight, all. Trump is not a conservative. pic.twitter.com/Fri8reAEx1— Jeb Bush (@JebBush) January 22, 2016
13.) Rick Santorum (12)
Please see @13hours. Shows the greatness of our soldiers and why we need a Pres who makes their security and success his priority.— Rick Santorum (@RickSantorum) January 16, 2016
14.) Chris Christie (14)
I'm sorry, NH but I gotta go home - we got snow coming. #Jonas— Chris Christie (@ChrisChristie) January 22, 2016
15.) Jim Gilmore (15)
Arrived in New Hampshire tonight and begin campaigning tomorrow at 8am.— Jim Gilmore (@gov_gilmore) January 21, 2016
Double Winner: Donald Trump
Trump's timeline doesn't indicate where the attacks of which he tweets took place, but my best guess given the time stamp is that he was referring to the al-Qaida-linked raid on a luxury hotel in Burkina Faso, which killed more than 20 people and wounded scores more. It's a safe bet, though, that the RTs Trump garnered were less about solidarity with those affected by the attack, and more about Trump fans' excitement over the twin pillars of his campaign: Islamophobia and an astonishingly cruel immigration proposal.
Trying on a Trump Hat: Bernie Sanders
Bernie slides into his usual second place with a tweet that neatly sums up what has become a recent campaign theme on the trail: He is better suited to defeat the Republican nominee than Hillary is. While that remains to be seen—these type of hypothetical general election polls aren't that predictive; voters would probably think differently of Sanders after conservatives spend tens of millions of dollars on hammer-and-sickle-themed ads this summer—Sanders knows that he needs to tackle the electability question head on if he's going to upset Clinton early. In that way, as my colleague Jim Newell noted, he's taking a page out of Trump's but-look-at-the-polls book, which has proved more effective than anyone expected.
Unexpected Appearance: Snakes
John Kasich—who is billing himself as "the Prince of Light and Hope" on the campaign trail—continued his ongoing assault on his fellow establishment-approved candidates this week. His biggest social success? Reminding conservatives that, as Florida governor, Jeb Bush signed legislation that raised the fee imposed on owners of certain ... snakes. According to the Miami New Times, the bill in question raised the fee from $5 to $100. Something tells me snake owners aren't going to decide New Hampshire.
RIP: Braden Joplin
The Ben Carson volunteer died this past Tuesday after a van carrying campaign staff crashed on an icy highway near Atlantic, Iowa. "I had the opportunity to get to know [Braden] and the thing that impressed me the most is how compassionate he was and how caring he was about the feelings of other people," Carson said following the news of the 25-year-old's death.