Twitter 2016 power rankings: Trump wins, Bernie and Hillary clash, and Gilmore declares victory.

Donald Trump Wins Twitter by Accusing Ted Cruz of Fraud

Donald Trump Wins Twitter by Accusing Ted Cruz of Fraud

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Feb. 5 2016 5:13 PM

This Week’s 2016 Twitter Power Rankings

Donald Trump gestures as he speaks to veterans at Drake University on January 28, 2016 in Des Moines, Iowa.

Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

Rectangles are sized by number of retweets. Click on a candidate to zoom in.
Interactive by Andrew Kahn

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: 1)


2.) Bernie Sanders (2)

3.) Hillary Clinton (3)

4.) Ben Carson (7) 

5.) Marco Rubio (5)


6.) Ted Cruz (8)

7.) Jim Gilmore (15)

8.) Carly Fiorina (9)

9.) Jeb Bush (4)


10.) John Kasich (14)

11.) Chris Christie (13)

Dropped Out: Mike Huckabee (6), Rand Paul (10), Martin O'Malley (11), and Rick Santorum (12)

Overall and RT Winner: Donald Trump


Trump didn't win Iowa, but Twitter has always been much friendlier territory for his staccato bursts of anger than the Hawkeye State ever was. This marks the third week in a row that Trump's pulled the double, and he's the odds-on favorite to repeat again next week given his fans seem to like spreading his message regardless of whether he's winning—or complaining that he isn't:

Democratic Spat of the Week: The Definition of Progressive

Slate's Jamelle Bouie has much more on the political battle over an ideological label that is far from precise. But for posterity's sake, here was Hillary's response to Bernie's most popular tweet:

Gilmore-mentum!: Jim Gilmore

Let's take one more momentum to appreciate Gilmore's top tweet:

I look forward to the former governor declaring himself the GOP runner-up this summer when he's one of only two candidates still in the race at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland.

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

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