This word is a fine example of how conservatives and liberals can use the exact same vocabulary to talk past each other. Both sides accuse the other of harboring "elites," and of course, the favorite pastime of all "elites" is "elitism," i.e. ignoring or ridiculing non-elites.
The problem is, what qualifies one as an elite? The dictionary definition is "a group of persons who by virtue of position or education exercise much power or influence." Liberals seem to focus on the "position" half while conservatives seem to focus on the "education" half. Meaning, liberals use "elite" to attack rich people, while conservatives use it to attack smart people.
Now, all things being equal, who do you think exerts more "power or influence" on the affairs of this country -- the rich or the smart? Granted, there exists some group of indeterminate size that happens to be both rich and smart, but we're talking generalities here. If you're not an elite, and you're determined to hate the elites, who makes a likelier target?
If you answer "the smart" then you definitely do not qualify for your definition of elite.