Re: "I do believe the US election process1 is good, possibly bordering on great. "
First of all, the Electoral College certainly was not about the landed gentry overturning the will of the unwashed masses. Who could vote was left to the state legislatures, and in general, only those paying property tax could vote. There was no income tax. Those who were not landowners were not considered to have a stake in funding government, so therefore did not get a vote. Basically, only the landed gentry voted, wherever they lived.
Don't forget that these were state governments joining together into a republic, but wanting to retain as much sovereignty as they could. The more populous states, those containing the large cities, Philadelphia, New Your, Boston, Norfolk, wanted a popular vote, because of course they did. It gave them a better chance of electing a homeboy as the President of the republic. Some of the smaller more rural states wanted the Congress to select a President with no popular vote at all. They feared (rightfully so) that every President would hail from Philly or New York and they would have little say in the matter. Hence the compromise. It still holds true today, really. If you don't think so, have a look at the NY Times 2020 election results map by voting district and note the small blue metro areas in a sea of red rural areas, and that was a year when the Democrat candidate won.