As Election Day looms, the Democrats look to be embattled in places where they've not been embattled for decades. Republicans are threatening Democrats in such true-blue regions as New England and the Pacific Northwest.
But here in California, Democrats are increasingly upbeat about their prospects. Jerry Brown has withstood Meg Whitman's $140 million assault and for the past two weeks has finally been up on the air with ads of his own. In Carly Fiorina, Sen. Barbara Boxer has been blessed with an opponent who stands well to the right of Californians on social issues such as abortion. Both Brown and Boxer are up in the polls, and union-funded polling for congressional and state legislative seats shows that Republicans will have trouble picking up seats in November, even though California's unemployment rate -- 12.5 percent -- is the third highest of all 50 states.