Trump may be on the ballot again in 2024, though that is more difficult to imagine after the “failed insurrection” in his name in Washington on Wednesday; he will not be there in 2044. So when Trump finally leaves politics, whatever the circumstances, will he be able to pass his movement to an heir?

Like many, I’ve speculated on the possibilities. Perhaps one of Trump’s children, most likely Donald Jr., will inherit the base along with a tower or two. Or maybe some other politico angling to be an ideological heir, like Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), will successfully claim the crown. But watching the pro-Trump protests in Washington this week as the Senate gathered for the final formality of President-elect Joe Biden’s victory, I grew increasingly skeptical that a transfer is possible — that is, I’m increasingly convinced this whole phenomenon is tied to Trump himself by a knot that can’t be undone.

Consider the aesthetics of the thing. As political scientist Richard Hanania observed before Wednesday’s demonstration turned violent, the overwhelming theme of his faction’s attire is simply “Trump.”