I agree that the original design was appropriate to the political and economic situation. The political, historical, and economic ties between the 13 colonies were weak; they were in fact functioning as independent states.
The problem is that things have completely changed in 230 years. Economically, historically, and politically, the states have converged and melded into a single unit. We all speak the same language; even dialects have all but disappeared. Citizens move so freely between states that they no longer identify themselves by their state. The economic ties between states are so tight as to render them economically undifferentiable. State governments are very similar; while we make a great hubbub over controversies such as abortion and gun laws, the laws are in toto so similar that a lawyer can move to a new state and easily get a license to practice there.
Thus, the conditions that justified the Electoral College 230 years ago are long gone and it is obsolete. The authors of the Constitution hoped that the amendment process would enable the federal government to keep up with changing times, but they overlooked the fact that the amendment process itself made it impossible to correct this problem.
The 2016 election was an extreme demonstration of the intrinsic unfairness of the Electoral College. In times past we could shrug our shoulders at elections in which the loser had a slightly greater popular vote, but the 2016 election was a blatant violation of democratic principles. It has robbed the Federal government of some legitimacy.
If we’re lucky, we won’t experience such an outrage anytime soon. Certainly all the polls show Mr. Trump losing by such a huge margin that there’s little reason to believe that we’ll encounter such a problem in 2020. Perhaps the continuing urbanization of the country will reduce the magnitude of the problem. Perhaps the country’s shock at the cruelty and bigotry that resulted from the election of 2016 will lead the Republican Party to purge itself of the vicious Trump elements and resume its historical position as the party of responsible conservatism.
My fear is that, should none of these developments occur, we could well head to a violent resolution of the problem. The Constitution had two fundamental flaws: slavery and the Electoral College. The first required a Civil War to correct; I pray that we will not have to resort to such a resolution in the latter case.