Trump, Bernie win 2016 Twitter power rankings—yet again.

John Kasich Goes After Jeb Bush’s Record on… Pet Snakes

John Kasich Goes After Jeb Bush’s Record on… Pet Snakes

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Jan. 22 2016 5:42 PM

This Week’s 2016 Twitter Power Rankings

Rectangles are sized by number of retweets. Click on a candidate to zoom in.
Interactive by Andrew Kahn
Edward Mercer, a Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission non-native Wildlife Technician, holds a North African Python during a press conference in the Florida Everglades about the non-native species on January 29, 2015 in Miami, Florida.

Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images

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)


2.) Bernie Sanders (1)

3.) Hillary Clinton (3)

4.) Ben Carson (4)

5.) Marco Rubio (7)


6.) John Kasich (13)

7.) Ted Cruz (6)

8.) Rand Paul (9)

9.) Carly Fiorina (11)


10.) Martin O'Malley (8)

11.) Mike Huckabee (10)

12.) Jeb Bush (5)

13.) Rick Santorum (12)


14.) Chris Christie (14)

15.) Jim Gilmore (15)

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. 

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

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