Guess who's coming to the Al Smith dinner

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tags: Hillary Clinton, election 2016, Trump, Al Smith dinner



Every four years in late October, the presidential candidates of both major parties dust off their white tie and tails to take part in one of the great closing rituals of the long campaign: a gala dinner at the Waldorf Astoria in honor of a New York governor who gave voice to immigrants and city dwellers, who appointed women to high office at a time when men had a monopoly on power, and who demanded that his fellow American practice toleration and acceptance.

The governor was Alfred E. Smith, and his virtues are celebrated every year at the gala named in his honor. During most presidential campaigns since 1960, the two candidates for the nation’s highest office put aside their differences for a few hours to take part in the tribute. They are expected to exhibit a light-hearted wit in speaking of their opponent. They will have to laugh when the event’s master of ceremonies, Alfred E. Smith IV, pokes fun at their pretensions and foibles. And they will have to show some knowledge and appreciation of the role that Al Smith, the first Catholic to win a presidential nomination, played in creating a more tolerant nation.

This year figures to be very different.

One of the candidates whose name is featured on the invitation to Thursday’s gala, of course, will not be wearing white tie and tails.

But it's the other candidate whose presence will be more jarring. He denounces immigrants, believes cities are cesspools of violence and dysfunction, promotes women as sex objects, and regards intolerance as a sign of strength. His recent campaign rhetoric seems inspired by the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. 





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