The way I recall it, the founding fathers didn't really trust the unwashed masses to elect the right people, so they put in place the electoral college so that a group of people with a clue could choose the right President.
My big problems with the current system are
- The election is over before it heads out West.
- Presidents get inflated sense of mandate when they have a huge electoral college victory, but a narrow victory in terms of votes
- The strategy that is mandated by the current system drives politicians to focus on a very small subset of the country. For instance, McCain focused on PA (not successfully) because it was his only hope.
- The Congressional District Method is the method that Kansas and Maine use. Give the winner of your state's popular vote the two electoral college folks that correspond to the Senators, and divide up the rest according to congressional districts. This makes more sense to me than what the other states do, but it has its downsides.
- The Proportional Allocation Method divides up the state's electoral votes according to how the popular vote breaks down. No state is using this method.