TNR warns about the greater implications of a loss for DC's incumbent mayor next week:

A Fenty defeat, which would really be a Rhee defeat, would deal an especially noxious blow to the national fate of education reform. That’s because we’ve arrived at a curious moment. Thanks to Barack Obama, the Democratic policy establishment and a handful of high-profile politicians have turned against what Steven Brill calls “the base of the base” of the party, the teachers’ unions. With the Race to the Top program, Obama has inspired a wave of unprecedented legislation in the states intended to hold teachers accountable for their classroom performance. Unions have understood the new political environment. Since they have assumed the inevitability of reform, they have largely acceded to the change and resigned themselves to merely shaping it at the margins. If Fenty loses, however, it would send the signal that reform is hardly inevitable.

The latest polling doesn't look good for the mayor, and he is desperately seeking Obama's endorsement. Max Fisher has more on the issue at the center of the race.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to letters@theatlantic.com.