There is an entirely obvious reason that the electoral college system is in effect in America, and that is to prevent what my high school government teacher lovingly referred to as Mobocracy.
All Gore won California by a very healthy margin at last count, but he still received the same 54 electoral votes that the state is always worth. He’d win those same votes if he had between Bush 10 to 1. Or, just by ten (well, as in Florida’s case, this might not be true…). In a strictly popular majority vote system, what would happen if suddenly the mid-west had 90% voter turnout? Or, if all of New York and Texas voted for one candidate? These are extreme examples, but they serve to very handily exemplify why a straight popular vote wouldn’t work out entirely well for America.
Since Congress is split between the Senate and the House in order to provide just such a balance to the legislature of the country, there ought to be a similar way to place a check on the highly unstable electoral system when a race is as close as this one has been. Perhaps the electoral votes only should add up to a total of 435, with actual Senators casting the last 100? Or, perhaps the last 100% could be a proportional representation of the popular vote itself.
The whole point of the college is to avoid various forms of mobocracy, and that i think anyone could agree with. It’s just the implementation that’s off…