538 has a great article on the role of moderate politicians in congress.
The result of Moderate legislators combining the worst of both parties proposal
The Bayh’s , Lieberman’s and Snowe’s of the world are moderates, in that they muddle together proposals of each side to make bastardized policy proposals that meet in the middle (legislative man-bear-pigs). As long as they remain moderates, patching together existing proposals, they will remain an obstacle, with only the limited utility Schaller [the author of 538] outlines.
What we need are Independents who come up with their own policy solutions rather than just trying to make the best out of the crap the Democrats and Republicans come up with. A majority of voters are registered Independents or “centrists” because they can’t get their mix of policy preferences without supporting both parties. If a candidate or party mirrored their preferences, providing them what they like about the left and what they like about the right, that candidate could rise to a new level of electoral success. There is a massive opportunity for a party to redefine itself, or an independent to eschew party, and provide a “third way”, with its own fully realized policy prescriptions, catering to the median voter.
With increasing political polarization, the door is only opening wider in the middle. Who will be the first to walk though it?