By Rep. Dennis A. Cardoza (D-Calif.)

Favorability ratings don’t lie. In politics, when your approval rating is below 50 percent, you’re on shaky ground. When you’re between 4 and 13 percent — as this Congress consistently is — you’re in revolution territory! Congress is officially broken due to extreme partisanship on both sides. The real question, however, is who is left to step up and fix it?

Over 40 percent of the voters in the nation identify themselves as “moderates.” However, less than 10 percent of the current members of Congress would self-identify the same way. Congress was designed to represent a cross section of America. This is no longer the case.

Lately, the media has made much of the fact that centrists are leaving the Senate in droves, with the departures of Senators Olympia Snowe (R-Maine), Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Tex.), Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.), Kent Conrad (D-N.D.), Ben Nelson (D-Neb.), and Jim Webb (D-Va.) at the end of this year.

There is rarely any mention that this exodus already happened in the House in 2010 – albeit mostly involuntary – and the resulting gridlock should serve as a warning. Scores of Blue Dogs and moderate Republicans either resigned or lost their elections when the Tea Party took power. This extremism has absolutely devastated the day-to-day operations of the House. With a great many more moderate retirements already announced in 2012, I don’t see any improvement on the horizon.

Read the entire op-ed at The Hill.