Hello and welcome to Week 3 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:
- 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.
- Tweets that include a direct request for a retweet are ineligible because that’s cheating. RT if you agree!
- 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.)
- 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 around 10 a.m. the morning we go live. (RTs amassed after the morning cutoff don’t count in the rankings.)
You’ll find this week’s takeaways at the bottom, but without any further ado, here’s the Week 3 ranking:
1.) Donald Trump (Last week: 1)
2.) Bernie Sanders (3)
3.) Hillary Clinton (2)
4.) Ted Cruz (9)
5.) Ben Carson (5)
6.) Bobby Jindal (12)
7.) Mike Huckabee (6)
8.) Rand Paul (4)
9.) Carly Fiorina (7)
10.) George Pataki (16)
11.) Jeb Bush (8)
12.) Scott Walker (11)
13.) Marco Rubio (10)
14.) Rick Perry (13)
15.) Rick Santorum (14)
16.) John Kasich (15)
17.) Martin O’Malley (17)
18.) Lindsey Graham (20)
19.) Jim Webb (18)
20.) Chris Christie (19)
21.) Lincoln Chafee (21)
22.) Jim Gilmore (22)
Winner: Trump. Again.
The Donald won this week by tweeting a letter he sent to CNN asking the network to donate all of its profits from next week’s debate to various TBD veterans groups of Trump’s choosing. But while that letter was classic Trump—“this tremendous increase in viewer interest and advertising is due 100% to ‘Donald J. Trump’”—so too were the two dozen other tweets the GOP front-runner sent over the past seven days that also had enough retweets to earn the top spot in this week’s rankings, be it his dismissive retorts to Bobby Jindal, his mocking of Jeb Bush’s donor base, or the hyping of his own poll numbers.
Anything else? Fighting over Kim Davis.
The Kentucky county clerk and her anti-gay marriage crusade didn’t dominate this week’s rankings like they did the previous ones, but Davis still made the occasional cameo. Mike Huckabee made sure to be standing front and center when Davis was released from jail on Tuesday—and did everything he could to keep Ted Cruz out of the frame—but ultimately it was the rally-crashing Cruz who got the most mileage out of his “religious liberty” photo-op.
Last thing: Can a former Virginia governor get a RT!
Jim Gilmore tweeted a total of 10 times between this past Saturday and this morning’s cutoff. His reward for his effort: a single, solitary retweet. (He’s since received a second but, again, and rules are rules.) Of course, that wasn’t the worst news the former governor’s campaign received this week. On Thursday, Gilmore learned that he failed to crack the 1-percent polling threshold needed to make it on stage next week for either of CNN’s two GOP debates. Maybe Gilmore can use the time he would have spent preparing for the debate to craft the perfect 140-character Trump insult. Either that or, you know, hold an actual campaign event.