The problem is that our electoral system is biased towards a two-party system. Plurality voting and single-member districts are as much of a guarantee of bipolarity as you’ll get from an electoral system . . . a national-level fix to national institutions would be rather difficult. However, one of the quirks of our system is that lots of responsibility for national-level institutions is left to the States. In particular, the Constitution in Article 1, sect. 4 says this: “The Times, Places and Manner of holding Elections for Senators and Representatives, shall be prescribed in each State by the Legislature thereof; but the Congress may at any time by Law make or alter such Regulations, except as to the Places of chusing Senators.” . . .Read the whole thing.
The principle goal of a state-centric reform movement would be to lower the bar for political parties to enter races. We like to vilify political parties, but they are absolutely necessary to a functioning democracy. No voter has the time or intellect to learn enough about the set of candidates they are expected to vote for each election season; parties provide a handy identifier, greatly reducing the cognitive burden on the voter. The real problem is that we have only two parties, and those parties are extremely broad . . .
A state-level electoral reform movement – focusing only on making the machinery more representative, more democratic (little ‘d’) – would not only appeal to the existing third-parties, but would not necessarily require reform-minded members of the other two parties to abandon their tribal loyalties. Nor should these reforms be limited to Federal offices; they could apply all the way down to city dogcatcher. At its best, such a movement would be a genuinely trans-partisan, Americans-united-together effort to make our government work better.
From Miles Townes at The Violence of Nations: