The "elites" have the best education money can buy, they have the best advisers money can buy, and the free time to research what ever they need because they don't have to work 40-60 hours a week to make ends meet.
Given that little bit of information let me ask who exactly is not that smart. You or them? Just to drive the point home, lets play along with a few more questions.
How many people would an elite group have to control in order to really run the country? They don't need to control each person individually, they just need to control enough to maintain media so that they could build up or destroy a person. Nearly all media is already controlled by 3 people in the USA. It does not take manually handling politicians to control them, it takes money and errand runners. Given that the President, Congress, and Senate is less than a thousand people, you only need a few runners for each of the people in the conspiracy. They don't need to control State politics, just few Governors is all. California and New York have a big enough population to concern people, Wyoming on the other hand does not have enough population to be a concern.
Further, you don't need to direct every detail to get the result you want. Bits and pieces here and there is called compartmentalization, and we have known about this for a very long time. Agencies within the Government practice this with a high degree of precision, such as the projects that built the SR71, F117, etc... You can see it in action after the fact so you know it exists, yet you somehow want to claim that it could only work with building some of the most complex machines the world has ever seen and could not happen in politics. Come now, that's just idiocy.
As to Conspiracy in general, take the TV show Survivor. In the first series people almost immediately started conspiring with others to win. After the first series, the conspiracies became the focal point of the show. If people would conspire within a few days to win a million dollars, you don't believe it's possible that they would conspire when the stakes are much higher? This is also idiocy.
One of the most important things I ever read regarding politics was this.
FDR once said "In politics, nothing happens by accident. If it happens, you can bet it was planned that way." He was in a good position to know. We
believe that many of the major world events that are shaping our destinies occur because somebody or somebodies have planned them that way. If we were merely dealing with the law of avenges, half of the events affecting our nation's well being should be good for America. If we were dealing with mere incompetence, our leaders should occasionally make a mistake in our favor. We shall attempt to prove 'bat we are not really dealing with coincidence or stupidity, but with planning and brilliance. This small book deals with that planning and brilliance and how it has shaped the foreign and domestic policies of the last six administrations. We hope it will explain matters which have up to now seemed inexplicable; that it will bring into sharp focus images which have been obscured by the landscape painters of the mass media.
In the past people have commented simply to discourage people from reading the book, so I won't be surprised to see that again. The book is from 1971 and titled "None Dare Call it Conspiracy" by Gary Allen.
Labeling people "Conspiracy Theorist" has happened since the same years. Anytime someone brings up an uncomfortable question, label and belittle. If that does not work simply censor and ignore. (Also covered in the same book).
I believe you need to try harder to discourage people from making connections which are easy to see. Dump the Troll handbook and actually attempt to hold rational discourse and dialogue with people.