As a European citizen who has been living in the US for 12 years, I am still shocked by how unfair the US presidential election system is.
I do not use the word shocked lightly. It is mind-boggling to me that the US is still using the system it is using.
For example, as a result of the Electoral College assigning a minimum of 3 electors per state, the vote of a Wyoming resident literally counts as being 3.3 times more important than the vote of a Pennsylvania resident (in Wyoming 1 elector represents 195 000 residents, in Pennsylvania 1 elector represents 640 000 residents.) How is this fair? This is no different than something like the Three-Fifths Compromise: assigning arbitrary importance levels to different groups of people.
The historical reason is that this system “forces presidential candidates to care about small states.” But this is wrong. As we have seen in the last few decades, elections are not decided by small states but by swing states. Candidates put their focus and campaiging efforts into swing states, not small states. This is a side effect that is widely documented and accepted.
But even if the Electoral College had the intended effect of putting more attention on small states, why should it? Why should a geographical area with a given population and given economic output have varying importance levels whether it is arbitrarily divided in 1, or 3, or 5 states, thereby giving it a minimum of 3, 9, or 15 electors? Of course this question would sound disparaging and certainly insulting to an American citizen of the late 18th century, where each state had a strong geopolitical and economical identity and independence from other states. But in modern 21st century America, this is less and less often the case. An imaginary/historical line divides Alex from Bob, therefore Alex’s vote has 3.3 times more weight that Bob’s vote? What?
Another result of the Electoral College is that it allows a candidate to be elected despite 78% of the population having voted against him. In fact, winning the election in spite of losing the popular vote has happened 4 times in US history. This is enough that it should make people question the efficacy of the system.
[Edit 09 Nov 2016: Not 4. But 5 times as it just happened again! Hillary Clinton won the popular vote but lost the election.]
The Electoral College might have achieved the goals it set to achieve when it was put in place in 1788, but is it still a good and fair system in 2016?