Scientists are telling me that they have developed a top secret technology, a quantum field generator that can prevent the inauguration from happening. Biden can try to take the presidential oath all day and it will do nothing!
I keep thinking about the Magical Misconception of Power, whether it’s sovereign citizens who believe the constitution is a scroll imbued with arcane magic that has a tangible effect on reality or the way characters in poorly written fantasy settings often mistake titles for abilities, like the way that becoming emperor will instantly give you incredible powers even though many historical emperors were virtual hostages of warlords, generals, or their relatives, and the powerful ones were constantly tending to their power base like a mafia don, who faces almost identical issues.
anyway, how can one person possibly have power over a hundred people? it only works because if someone attempts to challenge them, the other ninety nine will drag them down, but why would they do that? because if they don’t, the other ninety eight will drag them down!
so the emperor is powerful because they maintain an incentive structure in which any unilateral challenge is guaranteed to fail and thus will not be attempted and any attempt to coordinate a multilateral challenge that could possibly succeed is discouraged by threats, rewards for defection, spying, interdiction of communications, sowing mistrust between confederates, and whatever other means are available.
this all takes difficult and ongoing work! assuming that power brings rewards that encourage other people to seek it, you would expect that the work required to defend its possession would be similarly costly, including externalities that cost society at large, like war and persecution.
while granting someone the title of “emperor” or “president” does enhance their power by virtue of social norms in how someone with this title must be treated, it’s a small thing compared to the necessary work that follows.