Adam Schiff, Trump’s Chief Antagonist, Ponders Life After Trump

That could change if Mr. Newsom appoints a short-term placeholder instead, or if the state’s senior senator, Dianne Feinstein, 87, were to retire. Mr. Schiff has positioned himself to jump into a statewide race in the nation’s most populous state, with his hefty campaign war chest and highly recognizable name.

As the extremes of his party battle to determine what went wrong with voter turnout programs, digital data-mining and the party’s ideological tilt, Mr. Schiff’s view of the election outcome is pretty straightforward. The 2020 contest, he argued, was a referendum on Mr. Trump, delivered by a historically polarized country. Mr. Biden won the referendum, but Democrats lost House seats they picked up in 2018 where Mr. Trump remained popular.

In the election’s wake, he argued that Democrats should follow Mr. Biden’s lead and redouble their focus on the economy, prioritizing job creation, cutting health care costs and putting forward coherent answers to the forces of globalization and automation that have helped income inequality explode and left millions jobless or underemployed.

“We are the party of working families, but not all working families recognize that,” he said. “That’s the first challenge.”

The second, he said, was addressing the dangerous divergence of Americans’ information streams, which Mr. Schiff argued were reinforcing divisions that prevent the kind of consensus necessary to address the country’s most pressing problems.

Mr. Schiff, a member of the moderate New Democrats despite his fiery leadership in the Trump resistance, praised both extremes of the Democratic Caucus. He called Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, an outspoken progressive whose democratic socialist views have been weaponized by the right, “enormously talented,” suggesting that Democrats had benefited from her work motivating younger voters. He said more moderate members like Representatives Conor Lamb of Pennsylvania and Abigail Spanberger of Virginia had “unlocked the key to winning in really difficult parts of the country.”

“We are a big enough party to not only accommodate all of them, but to draw on their talents and their experience,” he said.

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