President-elect Biden is a Machiavellian's dream—especially the way it happened.
As I write, the path remains entirely open for Republicans, if they can operate as a coherent unit, to take all the power they want. They cannot, and they will not. Their fault is not in their stars, but themselves.
How? Simple: they just need to legally assume absolute power, then use it absolutely. This would have been literally trivial four years ago, when Republicans controlled all three constitutional branches. Now it would take a constitutional hack to even get the Presidency back, and a couple more to reach real power. Let’s walk through the steps. (Content warning: this “very legal coup” will not actually happen.)
A very legal coup
First, Republican state legislators would have to declare the ballots flawed and seat their own electors, effectively stealing the election back. They could do this trivially, legally, today. They could call it the “Very Cool And Very Legal Act” (VCAVLA).
Second, to govern unilaterally without the Congress, the President would have to assert his unconditional constitutional authority over the executive branch. This is clearly stated in Article II: again, very cool and very legal. As for the so-called “power of the purse,” it doesn’t mean much against the power of the Fed. Since the Federal Reserve is part of the executive branch, who needs a Congressional appropriation? Lol owned.
Third, lacking a perfectly loyal Supreme Court, the President would have to point out the fallacious, ahistorical and illogical quality of Marbury v. Madison, and assert the independent and coequal status of the executive branch. Judicial supremacy is a completely apocryphal invention of Justice Marshall, created for his own random political reasons. Very cool. And very illegal, so screw that guy.