Except for his stand on social issues Trump was very arguably the most liberal of the 2016 Republican candidates on the political and economic principles that mattered to the GOP: like free trade, the deficit ,and many aspects of a “strong defense.” (He said the Bush administration “lied” its way into the Iraq War and now the new Trumpist mantra is “ending endless foreign wars.”) This is the candidate the party got behind. A party that after 2012 was on the verge of “redefining itself” to become more liberal on social issues (primarily to attract Hispanic voters) became tolerant of ignoring bigotry and fascism.
My point is that it should be no surprise that craven politicians who would change all of their principles to save their careers would also vote to acquit a president who brought us to the brink of martial law. (And if you don’t believe we were close to martial law, read The War After the Election.)
It is possible that there will be a censure of Trump, perhaps in conjunction with section 3 of the 14th Amendment (which would prevent him from running for office again). This would only require a few of the seven Republicans who voted to convict regarding impeachment to vote to censure, as this approach would only require a majority, not the 2/3 supermajority that impeachment does. This strategy is actually politically possible and I am continually updating it as events evolve in The War After the Election [https://medium.com/illumination-curated/the-war-after-the-election-545de96aa4ca?sk=627c55d616d9296af3e398f1686493a4] .
Finally, it will take strong voices from both inside and outside the Republican Party to rise above the bigotry Trump so deftly manipulated. Leaders should be educating and leading their followers, not the other way around. And if this occurs, some of the very legitimate anti-government anger of Trump’s more persuadable voters could dissipate and move away from Trump and towards the Republican Party or whatever replaces it.