I think I can address a single point from the question (emphasis mine):
[The power tripping users] even seem to [upvote each other] on answers that DO NOT give an answer to the OP's question at all. while criticizing others of doing the same thing when there's no way to answer because the information is obscure or the OP remembers a quote from the author or something that isn't real etc.
There is nothing wrong with upvoting answers that don't answer the OP's question. That's explicitly allowed and part of the Stack Exchange system. This is why there are many accepted answers (accepted because they answered the OP's question) that do not have the highest votes.
An answer can be upvoted for any reason at all, but there are reasons that we are encouraged to upvote answers, and one of those reasons is if the answer is "helpful". I will absolutely upvote a high quality answer that has interesting information that I didn't know even if it doesn't directly address the question.
I will also downvote answers that are both speculative and do not address the question. Speculation that is plausible and addresses the question but has no quotes or support behind it will get no vote from me.
As far as I know, I'm not in any kind of clique or group of power tripping users. Some newcomers might feel like 2k+ rep is a lot, but compared to the people here who know everything about Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, and Harry Potter, I'm not even a guppy. I'm like an amoeba. But I was able to earn a score of 52 on one answer because I have a digital copy of Star Wars (the novel) and I searched it for a phrase and I did it before anyone else. Then, when the user who almost certainly is included in the alleged "power tripping" club who knows about billion times more about Star Wars than I will ever dream of commented, I folded that comment into the answer, because hey, that was pretty cool to comment on my answer instead of writing his own answer.
Then another probably-alleged-power-tripper answered from Legends canon that contradicted my answer. I upvoted that answer because it was helpful. And none of these "power users" downvoted my answer, and I know this because I have no downvotes.
So as a complete small fry who just happened to answer first, and was treated very well by the biggest fish in the pond, I have never felt like there was a clique here or anyone power tripping or whatever.
Maybe that's because I don't mess around when I'm posting an answer. If I don't know (which is 99% of the time), I don't post. If I do know, I post, but I don't just type up something as quick as possible, I take my time, get sources, links, images, quotes, whatever. Or I lay out my case for a plausible supposition. Then I let the votes fall where they may.
And maybe most importantly, when someone comments critically, I give myself time to get over my frustration at their obvious ignorance of my genius, and I try to look at it from their point of view. And a third of the time, I back up my position, a third of the time, I edit my answer to make it better, and a third of the time, I ignore the comment. The comments I don't ignore are meant to help make my answer better, so I take them seriously in that vein. Comments that are not productive I can ignore (or flag if they are seriously rude) because comments won't live forever and someone else will come around and clean them up or even defend my answer if any comments are really off.
That's a bit of a ramble. TL;DR: I'm no insider, I'm no power user, and I don't have much rep, and I'm not seeing what you're seeing. That doesn't mean it's definitely not there, just that it can't be that huge - I'm here every day and I don't see it.