Bernie Sanders Wins the GOP Debate — Again!

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The Democratic debate may not be until Saturday, but the GOP’s presidential hopefuls should be “feeling the Bern,” as the democratic socialist senator once again walked away the big winner of a GOP debate that he wasn’t present for.

As the debate aired, Twitter’s Government and Elections team tracked how many followers each presidential candidate from both major parties gained. Unfortunately for the right-wing, Bernie Sanders once again came out on top.

The wave of new followers is due to the senator’s snarky and dissenting live-tweeting that has become a tradition during the wild and crazy GOP debates — though the massive increase is certainly more interesting when you consider that he was not even mentioned on the Vegas stage.

Typically, Sanders has used the hashtag #DebateWithBernie for his live tweet sessions, but on Tuesday he opted to stick with the general #GOPDebate.

Coming in second place for the most new followers after Sanders was GOP front runner Donald Trump, trailed by Ben Carson, Marco Rubio, and Ted Cruz, according to Twitter. Clinton did not gain enough to earn herself a place in the top five during the evening’s main event.

Sanders, as expected, did not hold back during the fifth GOP debate as he called on his followers to stop racism and xenophobia, and to “stop Trump.” His straight-forward tweets each earned thousands of retweets and responses.

The Vermont senator also called the party “out of touch” over the fact that there was no mention of income inequality, climate change, or racial justice — topics of great importance to Sanders, as well as the American public. While the GOP does tend to avoid these issues, it is also important to note that the focus of this debate was on foreign policy and national security — so they may deserve a pass for a portion of this one.

However, the Pentagon did release a report in July of this year that determined that global warming posed a significant threat to national security.

“Global climate change will aggravate problems such as poverty, social tensions, environmental degradation, ineffectual leadership and weak political institutions that threaten stability in a number of countries,” the Department of Defense wrote in the report they sent to Congress.

The tweet was a reference to another that had won him the top spot back in August — which has since been retweeted over 30,000 times.

Sanders also had the top two most retweeted comments during the November debate.

While other candidates have teams of rapid fire professionals to write them the wittiest commentary for social media, Sanders’ quick quips are reportedly all his own and authentic.

In September, Sanders spokesman Michael Briggs told NPR that the senator would throw out thoughts and observations while watching the debate and Kenneth Pennington, the campaign’s digital director, would sit next to him tweeting what he had to say.

As pundits and politicians seem to overlook and underestimate Sanders, he has dominated nearly every online poll with his enthusiastic online following that has translated into record shattering campaign stops where he fully packs arenas. He is also is on target to break his largest record to date: hitting two million individual, small-dollar contributions, more than any other presidential candidate in US history, the Huffington Post reported.

Social media has been of tremendous value to Sanders, as it has been key to building excitement without hardly any help from mainstream outlets.

While social media engagement may not be scientific polls, there is definitely something to be said for what we are seeing, and mainstream media may just be as “out of touch” as the GOP.

Featured image via Cassandra Fairbanks/Bipartisan Report