What can be done? Nothing. That’s what’s so frustrating.

President Trump’s second impeachment by the House is largely symbolic. Senate Majority Leader McConnell will not reconvene the Senate before January 19, making an impeachment trial after Trump leaves office also largely symbolic. Worse, it will sidetrack President Biden’s ambitious agenda for his first 100 days.

Virtually every Republican House and Senate member leaves many tweets and videos of them passionately defending Trump, which Democrats will use against them. They won’t change many minds but may change voter turnout. And Democrats could run a photo of the fur-and-horns guy with the caption: “Typical Republican voter.”

An unusual 10 House Republicans bucked their party in the impeachment vote. But that’s less than 5% and does not augur well for a Senate conviction. If all 100 senators are present, it would take at least 17 Republicans joining the 50 Democrats to reach the two-thirds to convict. (The two new Georgia Democrats, Warnock and Ossoff, will probably be seated January 19.) How many Senate Republicans will vote against Trump?

After conviction, Congress could place penalties on Trump that include barring him from holding office again and loss of pension and Secret Service protection. Big deal. It leaves Trump free to keep spouting that the election was rigged, something most Republicans still believe.

The Democrats might wish to have Trump run again in 2024. It would prevent his Senate sycophants — Cruz and Hawley, much smarter and just as manipulative — from getting the nomination. Rubio, Sasse and Cotton would also be marginalized. Of course, I would never accuse any of them of opportunism.

Some Republicans wish to rid the party of Trump’s dominance so they can reconstruct the GOP. Trump still at large stalls or splits this effort. McConnell seems newly aware of the advantage of a clean break. Maybe he fancies himself as the one who can lead reconstruction (better chance: Sasse). Democrats might prefer that the Republicans not reconstruct.

A few Republican legislators are moving away from Trump. Senator Murkowski of Alaska has threatened to turn independent, like Maine’s King, if the Republican Party does not repudiate Trump. She would caucus with the Democrats, who would welcome her.

It’s too late to head off angry pro-Trump protests set to precede and include President Biden’s inauguration. The new violence, predicted for D.C. and most state capitals, could be worse than the storming of Congress two weeks ago.

The real, abiding problem is to get Republicans to accept that the “stolen election” is a delusion. This is what motivated the invaders of Congress. Who can persuade them they were conned? They will shrug off the Senate’s impeachment trial.

Some good might come from getting Republican legislators to admit on camera that they indeed knew all along that the election was free and fair. But several frightened Republican House members told Democratic colleagues that their families have been threatened. They should get witness protection.

We overfocus on Trump’s January 6 noon rally that sent thousands down Pennsylvania Avenue to invade the Capitol. Planning for an electoral overturn started weeks before that and included House Republicans. The “riot” was not spontaneous and the rally was just a kickoff.

The day before, Trumpist congressmen were said to have led mob leaders through the House to point out Speaker Pelosi’s and other offices. Some called it a “reconnaissance” that betrayed the entire Congress. Next day, the mob leaders knew precisely where to go. That’s why they tried to bash open doors to the Speaker’s Lobby where legislators sheltered in fear. To protect them, a Capitol Police officer shot the woman climbing in.

Some in the mob had guns and used them. Two bullet holes are visible in photos of the window of a double door into the House chamber. Fragments of the frosted glass form a trail across the credenza used to barricade the door, indicating the shots came from outside. Capitol police then had to draw and aim their guns at the mob. It’s a wonder not more were killed.

Triple lines of defense could have stopped the riot before it started: Metro police could have stood at the base of the Capitol steps, National Guard on the steps and Capitol Police outside the building’s doors, with reserves in the Rotunda. But Capitol security officials waited until the building was breached before calling for help. Now images of Guardsmen sleeping on the Capitol’s floors remind voters how low American politics has sunk.

For the rest of his life, Trump will con the gullible, who will believe him forever. Trump is a threat to democracy until he’s broke and behind bars from his several civil and criminal charges. Expediting that, in both federal and New York state courts, safeguards democracy.

Trump spoke of “carnage” in his inaugural address and left practicing it.