It was this penchant for conspiracy theories, fueled by the metastasis of QAnon and stoked by some Senate Republicans, that created the explosion at the Capitol on Jan. 6.

So now Republicans have to stamp out this mass delusion by convicting Trump and disqualifying him from federal office. If they don’t, they’ll only accelerate the conspiracist takeover of the GOP. But even these steps are not sufficient to repair the party. The remaining GOP officeholders must repeat the truth, and their mea culpas, until the Republican base no longer believes the election was illegitimate.

Yet 45 Republican senators voted against taking up the impeachment trial Tuesday. Some want to spend as little time thinking and talking about Trump as possible, but many are still in thrall to his base. Twenty Republican senators are up for re-election in two years, and they no doubt fear primary challengers from the MAGA right if they show any sign of breaking with Trump. What’s less clear is why, given their rhetoric and behavior over the last four years, they think the country would be any worse off with Trump sycophants in their seats.