If you were looking to disprove the view that campaigns are primarily about how well the economy is doing and whether objective conditions are getting better or worse, you couldn't do much better than Adrian Fenty's loss last night. The Post's amazing tick-tock of his terrible campaign makes a pretty good case that campaigns -- or at least some minimal interest in what the voters are thinking -- matter for reelection. Though as someone who trends towards structuralist explanations, I'd also like to see some analysis of how demographics and racial tensions shaped the outcome. Despite the two major candidates both being African American, there was a whole lot of race in this campaign.
The question for D.C., of course, is what comes next. Seyward Darby paints a pretty grim -- and all-too-plausible vision -- of school reform in a world where Michelle Rhee is taken off the job three years into her campaign. Two D.C. Council members are pushing Vince Gray to keep Rhee on the job until the end of the 2012 school year, calling it an "extended transition." But I agree with Colbert King that it's probably unlikely after Rhee publicly campaigned against Gray last week. Plus, Gray's union supporters did not back his candidacy only to have Rhee survive the election.
On the bright side, King indicates that Gray will keep police chief Cathy Lanier around.
Photo credit: Linda Davidson -- The Washington Post.
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