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)
America's first black president cannot and will not be succeeded by a hatemonger who refuses to condemn the KKK.— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) February 28, 2016
2.) Hillary Clinton (4)
3.) Donald Trump (1)
MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 1, 2016
4.) Marco Rubio (3)
We cannot be a party that nominates someone who refuses to condemn white supremacists and the Ku Klux Klan.— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) February 28, 2016
5.) Ted Cruz (5)
6.) John Kasich (7)
Single RT Winner: Bernie Sanders
Sanders tweeted what so many of us (including Marco Rubio) were thinking, and reaped the RT rewards as a result. Trump would eventually blame the whole flap on a bad ear piece that he says made it difficult to hear the KKK-denouncing question—and has since disavowed David Duke and the hate group. The delay, however, was remarkably convenient given it allowed Trump to avoid demoralizing the white nationalist elements of his base in the days before Super Tuesday. (Meanwhile, the whole thing got Slate's Leon Neyfakh wondering: What, exactly, is the contemporary KKK, and what does it do? He then went looking for the answers.)
Overall Winner: Donald Trump
The GOP front-runner took home the overall RT title, as he has most of the weeks we've been keeping track. He went back to basics for his most successful tweet, fitting given this was the same week where he clashed with Fox News moderators in much the same way he did way back in the summer at the first debate, when his staying power was first starting to show.
Gone: Ben Carson (6)
Ben Carson called it quits on Friday, using a speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference to announce he was “leaving the campaign trail.” It was hardly a shock. He admitted to his supporters on Wednesday that he has no chance at winning the Republican nomination, proved he meant it by skipping the Fox News debate on Thursday, and then went ahead and announced Friday that he has already found his next job, as the head of a political group focused on Christian turnout.