Californians have not seen or heard much from Barack Obama lately. Nor for that matter has anyone else.

The former president has been working as hard to stay out of the limelight as his successor is doing to stay in it with hourly tweets.

This has not been lost on the political cognoscenti in this state which Obama handily carried by impressive majorities in two elections.

A recent article in New York Magazine examines his disappearance.

While Obama’s media silence is noticeable his views on whom he might favor as his party’s nominee in 2020 are less of a secret.

Not surprisingly, a couple of would-be contenders high on the list are two Californians with impressive resumes who come straight out of the party’s liberal wing.

Foremost is the state’s feisty junior U.S. Senator, Kamala Harris, who is barely into her first term.

Harris is already making waves as a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee investigating administration wrongdoing after her tough grilling of Attorney General, Jeff Sessions.

Another is Los Angeles Mayor, Eric Garcetti, who has also met with Obama and not long ago was seen stumping in Iowa—usually an early sign of presidential interest.

In a field likely to expand ten-fold in the months ahead after the defeat of its 2016 nominee that few expected and has left the party essentially leaderless, many will be testing their readiness to take down Trump.

Names being increasingly heard are Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia, Hillary Clinton’s appealing running mate; Massachusetts firebrand, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who is already busy raising money; and New Jersey’s Sen. Cory Booker—another freshman with solid credentials.

Add to this mix former Vice President, Joe Biden who may still harbor the dream and has more chits to collect than any other Democrat; New York’s governor, Andrew Cuomo and its rising star, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand; as well as former Massachusetts governor and close Obama pal, Deval Patrick.

Of course one individual who, though losing here to Clinton, did very well in California and in many other places is the indefatigable self-styled Socialist-Democrat crusader, Bernie Sanders.

Sanders collected 2.3 million votes in the Golden State to Clinton’s 2.7 million and 43% of all the votes nationally in the primaries. That is significant.

Though he did not capture the crown, Sanders was a surprising forerunner of a leftward tilt in the Democratic Party which continues to gather steam in California and in other regions akin in many ways to the populist uprising on the Right which launched Trump’s startling rise.

Whether this is a temporary phenomenon or the makings of a longer-term pattern that could radically transform both major parties remains to be seen.

In California the Democrats appear to have developed a split personality as shown by the party’s recent primary endorsement of U.S. Senatorial candidate, state Senator, Kevin de Leon, and not the veteran lawmaker.

While polls continue to evidence overwhelming support for Feinstein who is seeking an unprecedented 5th term—she leads de Leon in the latest polls 46%-24%— the liberal wing of her party is showing frustration and demanding change.

The discord among California’s Democrats is nothing new and will not alter the outcome in November where Feinstein, a centrist with a loyal following crafted assiduously since her early days as San Francisco’s mayor will be a shoo-in winner.

The same can be said for left-leaning Lt. Governor, Gavin Newsom, a principal architect of same-sex marriage and proponent of universal health care, who is poised to become the state’s next governor barring a dramatic reversal in voter support.

That victory will undoubtedly feed speculation that the young and ambitious Northern Californian could be another Oval Office aspirant sometime in the future.

But if the Left-Right schism which is mainly an intra-mural affair has created wounds for the California Democratic party that have yet to heal, how these differences play out on the national stage will have major consequences in what promises to be a titanic battle for dominance in the 2020 election.

That is where the shadow of Bernie Sanders, his eager adherents, and those who follow him espousing his political brand may still loom large.

California politics, however, are not easily exported to other parts of the nation still in the grips of the Trumpian conquest which has turned all predictions about the nation’s future upside down.

Socio-economic liberalism California-style has not made a comeback. It’s practically built into our DNA.

That’s not the case in much of America which voted for Trump the first time around and is prepared to do so again given the chance.

There are a half-dozen or so congressional seats in the state held by conservative Republicans who are standing firm in their allegiance to Trump that the Democrats have targeted in November.

The Republican Majority Leader, Kevin McCarthy (Bakersfield) who could be the next Speaker if the GOP keeps its majority, while apparently not threatened, shows no signs of breaking with the president.

The results here and in other vigorously contested congressional battlegrounds may provide some clues to the prospects of both parties beyond.

However, they are not likely to clarify whether politicians in the mold of Harris and Newsom and their like-minded counterparts in other regions are those best positioned to squelch Trump mania which has so far resisted all efforts to counter-act it.

The ongoing inquiries by Special Prosecutor, Robert Mueller, unquestionably pose a danger to this presidency which could still result eventually in its undoing.

Still, a shift in party control in either House is the bigger ball game.

It is beyond dispute that Russian interference in the 2016 election played a major and possibly decisive role along with the distorted workings of the long outdated Electoral College.

But these factors cannot be used to explain away the millions of voters who bought into the pocket-book messages at the heart of Trump’s appeal.

Thinking so would be a serious misreading of the public temperament then and now and could very well be again if it carries into the upcoming elections.

Connecticut Democrat, Sen. Chris Murphy, may have said it best, “What Obama was brilliant at in 2012 was making that election with Romney all about an economic contrast, making Romney be the candidate of the economic elites and making Obama be the candidate of Ohio, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania.

The new battleground cannot be between liberalism and conservatism or between Trumpism and anti-Trumpism. Nobody wins that war.

The real battle is between unprincipled governance and the restoration of responsible leadership.

All pretenses at civility have been shattered and both parties can share in the blame but trying to allocate it gets nowhere.

The great challenge of our time is finding leaders who can lay out a vision that looks realistically at the issues that divide us and appeals to the better angels within us.

That’s a tough assignment, but the candidate able to effectively combine those elements might just become the next president.