The Dems slammed Trump left and right during the convention. It hasn’t been a bad week for lulz, which made us wonder: Who threw the best shade this convention?

Here at Billy Penn, we mulled over contenders, sifted through quotes, and boiled down the speakers to an Elite Eight of sorts. Then, we ranked them individually, turning the rankings into a point system. We’ve tabulated the votes and first, we just want to say, we believe these speakers are all winners. Now, on to the savagery that captured our hearts.

Honorable Mentions

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Al Franken

Al Franken, former comedian and U.S. senator, came for three pundits and politicians on the right in particular: Bill O’Reilly, Rush Limbaugh and the Donald.  But, he wanted to make clear that he was an “expert” before he continued riffing: “Now a little bit about my qualifications, I got my doctorate in megalomaniac studies from Trump University.”

Jennifer Granholm

We felt bad that our governor went before this woman. Granholm, the former governor of Michigan, paused after making points with jewels like, “Imagine that. Actual plans. I must’ve missed that at the Republican convention.” Then she channeled Carly Simon, and hit us with “Donald, Donald, you’re so vain. You probably think this speech is about you.”

Hillary Clinton

When Hillary Clinton said “A man you can bait with a tweet is not a man we can trust with nuclear weapons,” it was like, man, The Donald really goes ham on Twitter. We’ve seen that. She’s saying he’d have Twitter fingers with bombs. Damn. And sure enough, hours later…

(One in a rant series.)

Joe Biden

The contestant from Delaware had other shady comments that night. But this one went viral: “He’s trying to tell us he cares about the middle class? Give me a break. That’s a bunch of malarkey.”

We couldn’t handle Biden’s word choice. Malarkey? Malarkey, tho? Biden actually uses this word plenty. But Wednesday, it sounded as fresh as an untouched spring.

The Winners Court

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Third Runner Up: Barack Obama

Barack Obama went and called Trump a “homegrown demagogue.” That’s not all he said. “My grandparents, they came from the heartland,” he told the audience.“Their ancestors began settling there about 200 years ago. I don’t know if they had their birth certificates, but they were there.”

Trump got most of the shade this convention. We like this jab because it’s not just for one particular person, but a known group of critics.

Second Runner Up: Kareem Abdul Jabbar

“I’m Michael Jordan,” Kareem Abdul Jabaar introduced himself. Because “Donald Trump doesn’t know the difference.”


First Runner Up: Michael Bloomberg

Michael Bloomberg said, “I led a business, and I didn’t start it with a million dollar check from my father.”

Bloomberg basically told Trump, ‘There’s a difference between your money and my money.’ What’s beautiful about this shade is, it’s billionaire talk, made legible for the hoi polloi. It’s like, if a soap opera writer were to have picked the setting, it would have been in a members-only club, cigar smoke swirling, well-aged scotch already poured for Bloomberg and his peers, but not Trump, who just walked in. Trump can’t sit with them. Trump doesn’t get offered a swig for his travels. And he asks why they’re doing him like that, and Bloomberg tells him. Yes, yes, it was that kind of shade. Only we saw it.

The Shade Queen of the Democratic National Convention: Joyce Beatty

This. empress. wore. the. same. damn. dress.

Cassie Owens is a reporter/curator for She was assistant editor at Next City and has contributed to Philadelphia City Paper, Metro, the Jewish Daily Forward, The Islamic Monthly and Spoke,...