I write in response to your recent article published 19th May ('Understanding the Upcoming Election in Dalaran'). My commendations for bringing some of the governmental processes of Dalaran to light to the greater population of the Alliance. However, I wish to make a clarification of what can be misunderstood towards the end of your article.
Dalaran is NOT a democracy.
It is understandable that this is often misconstrued by the general populous who are used to being governed in a monarchy or an autocracy. After all, my people used to be the same, until we undertook actual democratic elections to choose our High Tinker in the days of our king's absence. However, unlike Gnomeregan, Dalaran's process of election has a number of restrictions and caveats that I wish to highlight.
To understand this, one must start from the beginning.
Magocracy is a callback to the history of how the High Elves of Quel'Thalas trained one hundred humans in the arcane. High Elven society as a whole was also a monarchy, but one that is built on magical prowess as merit. This has influenced much of human mage culture. The first mages that travelled to Dalaran did so to freely study the arcane without the constraints of the Stromic kingdom. The ordinary local people in turn, welcomed the bustling economy as well as the protection for the city, that the mages created as they gathered to what has become a growing centre for magical studies. The Kirin Tor was born in order to research, archive, catalogue, study every spell, every magical artifact, and anything at all related to magic in our world.
But there has never been a monarch. The ordinary people looked to the mages to make decisions in theirs and the city's best interests.
Thus, among the Kirin Tor, a ruling Council was chosen among themselves. This was done on a meritocratic model of democracy. No single Council member is less than an Archmage or equivalent in terms of magical ability, diplomatic skill, military and tactical prowess, and knowledge. It is among the highest ranks of the Kirin Tor that the Council members were elected. It is among these same highest ranks that the votes were cast.
The Senate of Dalaran, as you rightly stated, functions to assist the Council in the infrastructural day to day responsibilities of running the city, therefore allowing the Council itself to deal with greater and more important matters - relocating the entire city, or deal with problems in the Dragon Isles, to give recent examples.
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However, here is where it needs to be clear: the Senate comprises only Kirin Tor members. Senators must themselves be part of the Kirin Tor. Only the Council or the Senate itself can elect new Senators.
Why then, would there need to be a poll for the general population, one might ask?
This is because it gives the Senate an idea of what the population expects of those who are governing them. It gives the Senate an idea of what the people currently want and need of those who are in charge. A poll will reflect which candidate is in the best standing among the population, and while the population is not the one who will vote for the new Senator, it will allow current Senators, and even the Council, to see what the climate is like, and see where and how they can better govern. Often the popular vote will predict the new Senator, but - and I cannot stress this enough - this will not always be the case.
Populism, believe it or not, is a tactic employed by those who are not entirely competent in being a governor, but who know how to work a crowd. This is the reason why the electoral process is not truly democratic, like it was in Gnomeregan.
The Kirin Tor, in accordance with our historical roots, was founded to govern ourselves and those who look to us to protect them. There are many among our ranks, but there are many more who are not. It has always been our responsibility to choose our leaders from among ourselves, while at the same time listen to the voices of those who look to us to ensure a safe place of growth of both knowledge and economics, and of protection. While the non-Kirin Tor citizens of Dalaran have no ultimate say in the individuals who govern them, it is down to us to continue to maintain their faith in us.
This is why we have the process that we do, so that unlike a monarchy, the people actually are allowed a voice of preferring who is in charge, but still trust us enough to choose the right persons for them.
Perhaps one day Dalaran will have a truly democratic process of election like Gnomeregan, but it will require a level of awareness of not only oneself, but of collective society as a whole that is, not to sound condescending, neither prevalent nor consistent among the general Dalaran population of mostly humans alongside a huge amalgam of various peoples and cultures. Until then, this is the process that makes the most sense in terms of a balance of doing what is good for the nation, while hearing what the people want.