The second impeachment of former President Donald Trump ended as predictably as the first: an acquittal based on evidence that was never actually presented. Even when their eyes were riveted to the grotesque footage of armed insurrectionists invading the Capitol, Republican senators were silently weighing much heavier evidence: When you defy Donald Trump, you may not survive a primary.

They watched themselves on video monitors running for their lives; but all they could think about was running in the next election, or, in the case of some, for president.

For now, it appears that the attempt to stop Trump from seeking office has failed. There is talk about other options, including the application of the 14th Amendment, which bars virtually anyone who took an oath to the Constitution and engaged in insurrection from holding office.