The Slatest

This Week’s 2016 Twitter Power Rankings

Tom Brady leaves federal court after contesting his four game suspension with the NFL on August 31, 2015 in New York City.  

Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Hello and welcome to Week 2 of the Slatest’s 2016 Twitter Power Rankings, where every Friday we round-up each of the White House hopeful’s most successful tweets from the past week. Why are we doing this? For starters, it will provide a helpful—if incomplete—snapshot of the topics that candidates are talking about online, and which of those are resonating with voters on social media. And, as the campaign continues to unfold online and off, it will also hopefully allow us to draw some conclusions about which candidates are winning the campaign Twitter wars and why.

The ground rules again:

  1. We’re defining a candidate’s most successful tweet as the one that receives the most retweets—though in the event two or more tweets are neck-and-neck, the one with significantly more favorites will get the edge.
  2. Tweets that include a direct request for a retweet are ineligible because that’s cheating. RT if you agree!
  3. If a candidate has more than one account, we’ll use the one tied to his or her official presidential campaign. (Or, in the case of blue checkmark-less Jim Gilmore, what we think is his official account.)
  4. Only tweets from the past seven days are eligible. Since we’ll try to publish the weekly rankings every Friday, that means any tweet sent between the past Saturday and the morning we go live.

You’ll find this week’s takeaways at the bottom, but without any further ado, here’s the Week 2 ranking:

1.) Donald Trump (Last week: 2)

2.) Hillary Clinton (1)

3.) Bernie Sanders (3)

4.) Rand Paul (10)

5.) Ben Carson (4)

6.) Mike Huckabee (15)

7.) Carly Fiorina (11)

8.) Jeb Bush (9)

9.) Ted Cruz (5)

10.) Marco Rubio (8)

11.) Scott Walker (12)

12.) Bobby Jindal (6)

13.) Rick Perry (13)

14.) Rick Santorum (18)

15.) John Kasich (14)

16.) George Pataki (7)

17.) Martin O’Malley (17)

18.) Jim Webb (19)

19.) Chris Christie (16)

20.) Lindsey Graham (20)

21.) Lincoln Chafee (21)

22.) Jim Gilmore (22)

Winner: Trump (and Tom Brady)

The rest of the field never had a chance. Let the Trump-Brady 2016 chatter begin!

What else? Rallying for—and against—Kim Davis.

The Kentucky county clerk and her anti-gay crusade has become a cause celebre among social conservatives—one that Mike Huckabee and his fellow “religious liberty” warriors are now using to rally their base. Davis’ refusal to hand out marriage licenses as a way to avoid giving one to same-sex couples, though, cuts both ways: It fires up the right but it does the same for the left, where protecting marriage equality remains a major priority. Hillary Clinton capitalized on those passions with a two-for tweet aimed at fans of both marriage equality and the rule of law. Davis’ case, meanwhile, poses a challenge for those moderate Republicans who would prefer to keep the focus on topics less likely to hurt them in the general election.

Last thing: Democratic also-rans looking for love.

On social media as on the campaign trail, Bernie Sanders poses the biggest Democratic challenge to Hillary Clinton. The other men in the race, meanwhile, are struggling to even get noticed. As candidates short on cash and even shorter on attention, Martin O’Malley and Jim Webb know their only chance to break through will be at the Democratic debates. It’s no surprise, then, that they’re calling for more of them. Also unsurprising: Few seem to be listening.