Re: Power unchecked
The US Electoral college seems crazy but actually serves as a useful check in the system, Essentially it equalizes the vote among the states so that California and New York don't have absolute control of the Presidency. If you look at vote totals from 2012 and 2016 you'll notice that "flyover country" was decisive and Clinton lost to Trump because states Obama won in 2012 went to Trump in 2016. the most glaring example is Wisconsin where Clinton didn't campaign at all and Obama campaigned heavily. Some of the same complaints about the Electoral versus Popular vote were raised when George W Bush won in 2000 and 2004, echoing Hayes in 1876.
As an Oregonian I loathe the idea of letting California run the country since I already live this in microcosm with the Portland-Eugene axis overpowering the rest of the state.
Back on topic, HOAs seem to be a necessary evil of new developments where mandated common features have to be maintained. I have always lived in older subdivisions free of such nonsense and hope to avoid it since my love of old cars and motorcycles and disdain for yard work will certainly trigger the petty tyrants