And this is where the real warning signs emerge. There is a growing disconnect happening between Democratic leadership and its base right now that mirrors what Republicans have been confronting since 2011. This isn’t always manifested in policy disputes. Oftentimes it is tactical or with respect to matters of perception. But to the degree that the disconnect exists, it is problematic for the party, opening the door for opportunists and charlatans to hijack the brand and agenda…

In 2018, Democrats are now truly experiencing the emergence of a Bernie Sanders inspired leftist, Democratic Socialist discontent. And the identity politics that the party has capitalized on for years is also proving determinative in electoral outcomes. Democrats would be wise to not dismiss the possibility of their own voters looking for less-than-ideal outlets for their anger.

But they shouldn’t overreact either. Doing so would, ironically, make the problem worse for everyone. Reaching for the extremes to avoid future losses increases the polarization and exacerbates unmet expectations.