In Barbour’s anxiety lies the Democrats’ greatest hope that they can avoid a complete clobbering at the polls in November. Democrats know they are in trouble, but they also know that much of the grassroots anger is directed almost as equally at Republicans as it is at them. They hope they can energize a deflated liberal base just enough to retain control of Congress, and their best-case scenario includes actually winning a few gubernatorial races in large states currently run by Republican governors…

Strategists at the DGA event pointed to gubernatorial races in California and Texas as evidence that the national mood may not dictate the outcome in elections for state offices. In California, former Ebay Chief Executive Meg Whitman has spent $120 million of her own money so far but has been unable to pull clear of former Gov. Jerry Brown, the Democrat. In Texas, incumbent Republican Gov. Rick Perry is in a shootout with Houston Mayor Bill White that is closer than the GOP would like.

In addition, DGA executive director Nathan Daschle said that in some cases, Republicans have nominated inexperienced candidates with little state infrastructure aimed at turning out voters.