equally legitimate part to play
this is the root difference between genuine democrats and various flavours of Authoritarians, whether they be straightforward Capitalists - who believe that their wealth entitles them to buy more influence or the descendants of the Monarchist tradition who simply believe that some people are born with the aptitude to govern and thus have a greater inherent right to participate in the decision making process than lesser mortals.
The hard lesson for elitists is that objective merit is only the basis for a Meritocracy, NOT Democracy. Argue for Meritocracy by all means. It does work well in many situations - Scientific Peer Review being a good example. But don't kid either yourselves or us that what you are talking about is Democracy.