Muckety winners and losers of 2016

By Laurie Bennett

January 6, 2017 at 11:22am

No one in our database lost more potential Muckety in 2016 than Hillary Clinton.

Before reality sneaked up and knocked her cold, Clinton was poised to become the mightiest woman in history. Although she’s still high on our ranking of influence, with a score* of 99, how much power she can or will wield in the future remains to be seen.

Many saw their prospects rise and fall over the last year, though none as dramatically as Clinton and President-elect Donald Trump. The biggest gainers are the passengers on the Trump train - a list that will grow in coming months as backers receive ambassadorships, administration jobs and board appointments. (We’ve already learned an important lesson from Trump’s election and subsequent cabinet picks: billionaires can increase their Muckety.)

Given congressional resistance over the last eight years, Barack Obama may actually gain some influence when he leaves the White House - particularly if he and former Atty. Gen. Eric Holder can combat Republican gerrymandering through their redestricting campaign.

The seven new senators and 55 new House members experienced an overnight Muckety boost. Most of those who lost or voluntarily left congressional seats will see their influence wane. One notable exception will likely be Dan Coats, who did not seek re-election to the Senate in 2016 and has been chosen by Trump to be director of national intelligence.

Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz held on to her seat, but lost the chairmanship of the Democratic National Committee after leaked emails revealed the party’s attempts to hinder the presidential campaign of Sen. Bernie Sanders.

Beyond the beltway, the year had its share of scandals and embarrassments:

  • Roger Ailes’s downfall at Fox began with sexual-harassment allegations by former anchor Gretchen Carlson. It accelerated with similar charges by other women at the network. Ailes recovered, to an extent, with a multi-million-dollar severance package and a role in the Trump presidential campaign.
  • John Stumpf stepped down as Wells Fargo chief after revelations that the company had created as many as two million fake accounts without customers’ consent.
  • Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes was banned from owning or operating a medical lab for at least two years after investigations questioned the effectiveness of her company’s blood-testing technologies.
  • Mylan CEO Heather Bresch’s Muckety plummeted after her company’s decision to increase the price of its EpiPen by 400 percent. She was hauled before the House Oversight Committee and several state attorneys general launched investigations.
  • Billy Bush suffered more than his pal when a 2005 video was disclosed during the presidential campaign, with Trump boasting to Bush of his suave, “grab them by the pussy” approach to women. Bush lost his hosting job with “Today.” Trump won the presidency. Go figure.
  • In other broadcast news, ESPN pulled Curt Schilling from a Little League World Series broadcast in 2015 after he tweeted a message comparing Muslim extremism to Nazi Germany. The company then fired him for anti-transgender comments.
  • And then we come to Kanye West. Where to begin? Probably at the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards, when West dissed Taylor Swift, a theme that continues. Then there was his proclamation in 2016 that he didn’t vote, but if he had voted, it would have been for Trump. Within days, he was hospitalized for stress and exhaustion. We’re not even going to bring up the Kardashian curse.
  • Finally, there was Mariah Carey’s performance on New Year’s Eve, so atrocious that some described it as the last fatality of the year.

* For more information on how we compile Muckety scores, see this explanation.

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