The electoral college is one of the most controversial and ridiculed parts of the Constitution. It is not just for the obvious reasons — the “wrong winner” elections of 1876, 1888 and 2000. The college has also focused the nation’s attention on a few swing states, allowing candidates to ignore a large percentage of the voters in their campaign. Today, the three largest states get little attention, except as ATMs for campaign fundraising.
Criticism of the electoral college is rampant, and defense of it rarely goes beyond “why change?” What is rarely discussed is why it was created and what it was designed to do. The college was very much a part of the philosophy of the Constitution — an intelligent compromise between many competing interests, part of the system of checks and balances.
What would eventually be called the electoral college — it did not gain that moniker until the 1800s — generally escaped criticism in the bitter ratification debates after the Constitution was written. Alexander Hamilton was particularly proud, noting that it was “almost the only part of the system, of any consequence, which has escaped without severe censure.” The “anti-Federalist” opponents of the Constitution tacitly agreed with the college concept. This may not be surprising because Congress, not the executive branch, was supposed to be the locus of power.
Full Article: Why have an electoral college? – latimes.com.