What seems smart might be nothing but deception or putting on airs while what seems stupid might be nothing but confusion or misunderstanding.
What seems to me confused by the OP is campaigning with voting. Cyclinghiker addresses that by mentioning critical thinking required of the electorate. That's the essential part of democracy, what Jefferson referred to as the cornerstone, an informed or educated electorate.
By informed, he didn't mean watching television ads, he didn't mean indoctrinated. Rather Independence of country; Independence of thought.
It is by voting that we create our own political climate. We might live for a while in the winds of oppression, as people were voting, as the bastards did in Florida, to create an amendment to that State's constitution denying Gay people our dignity and basic human rights. People did that to us by voting.
Or we might vote to shelter ourselves from that storm. So voting has great powers, even if everyone doesn't always get their way.
Is there corruption in the system? Political debt (see how polite I can be?) and graft, of course. But there is no system without corruption. Welcome to the world.
To the complex issue of the electoral college, it has only resulted contrary to popular vote four times and not necessarily as a matter of usurping the power of the electorate.
This seems the criticism by the OP...
this outcome typically result when the winning candidate has won the requisite configuration of states (and thus their votes) by small margins, but the losing candidate captured large voter margins in the remaining states. In this case, the very large margins secured by the losing candidate in the other states would aggregate to well over 50 percent of the ballots cast nationally. In a two-candidate race, with equal voter turnout in every district and no faithless electors, a candidate could win the electoral college while winning only about 22% of the nationwide popular vote. This would require the candidate in question to win each one of the following states by just one vote: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.
A result of the present functionality of the Electoral College is that the national popular vote bears no legal or factual significance on determining the outcome of the election. Since the national popular vote is irrelevant, both voters and candidates are assumed to base their campaign strategies around the existence of the Electoral College; any close race has candidates campaigning to maximize electoral votes by capturing coveted swing states, not to maximize national popular vote totals.
But there's more to it than that. I just perused it quickly but that wiki looks like it does a pretty good job of explaining that issue so the OP should read through that and other issues regarding democracy and the responsibilities of the electorate.
Also I would suggest participating in government in any capacity. Have you ever attended a town hall meeting? Or you could volunteer on a committee, get onto an advisory panel, do any of those things at a local level or simply find a candidate you think you might like and go work for their campaign. See for yourself what's involved by being involved.