POLITICS: An Urban Quartet

Like oracles reading the entrails of the lamb, politicians of all persuasions will dissect the results of next week's big-city mayoralty races. Some of the elections may produce portents of next year's national politics. Others, because they turn on specific local issues, will more than likely be analyzed and interpreted individually, rather than for any discernible nationwide pattern. Some, too, are notable mainly for refreshingly offbeat candidates. Taken together, four major contests constitute a political pastiche of urban America:

CLEVELAND. No matter what guise it takes—crime, impending bankruptcy, inadequate service—there is...

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