More populous areas will receive more attention in campaign season under any system, though the EC system can drastically magnify it.
That's actually only partially true. Each state chooses on their own how to choose their electors, and they also define how binding a vote for elector is. For instance, in many states an elector is bound by law to cast their vote in the national convention for whomever the popular vote within the state chose. If they go against that, then they are subject to arrest and are no longer that state's delegate. However, as I said, it's a state thing. It can still happen in some states.
Right you are. In fact, in the last election a candidate could technically have won with only (roughly) 11% of the popular vote.
I knew there was a reason I liked you.
Right now the electoral system is stuck in a state between what the founding fathers established and where populists see it. I will first explain to you the populist version, as it will be quick to explain and easy to understand.
The populist version of presidential elections would be (ideally) a short and sweet process in which everyone votes and the candidate with the highest percentage of the population voting for them wins.
The original process was what some might label as slightly elitist and undemocratic, hence its slipping away over time. In this process each state was allowed to send a certain amount of delegates to the national convention, the number of which was mostly based upon population (It was and is based upon the number of representatives said state has in congress. So, 2 (senators) + X population (members of the house)). It was and is up to each state how the delegates are chosen. Initially the electors would actually campaign themselves. You would actually vote for electors in every sense of the word. Back then, when the world was a much bigger place, it was nigh impossible for the general population to get to know presidential candidates. So instead, they would get to know local delegates and select one to choose a president in their stead. Candidates who were elected could get to know presidential candidates, either before during or after they were elected (Electors were likely often prominent figures in national politics, possibly even members of congress to which their seat was correlated, though this is only an assumption on my part.). Through this process, those who were voting could get to know those who were being voted for. The people really had a chance to get to know their electors, and electors really had a chance to get to know presidential candidates.
Hopefully you can see the distinction between the two processes. Over time, we drifted from the original process due to the Populist Movement. Populism is basically a philosophy in which an ideal leader will do exactly what the people want and say, and nothing else. The founding father's philosophy was much less that of the delegate democracy of the populist movement, and more of a trusteeship seen in a Republic. They believed that those elected to lead should indeed lead. Rather than listen to whatever the people were saying, representatives should do what they believed to be best for both the people and the nation. You can see many hints to this philosophy in the constitution and original US and state governments. Anyways, back on topic, the populist movement has been an up and down movement for many years, and has had such an impact on modern politics that many of their ideals are now taken for scripture by much of the general population, and anyone who opposes them are sentenced to political damnation. Hence why the electoral college has tried moving from the original trusteeship method towards a sort of demented popular vote system that is in place today.
I'm in favor of the original process.