Mitch McConnell’s announcement on Wednesday that he will step down as Senate Republican leader at the end of this year was hardly surprising. The decision has been long anticipated. The shift will make official what’s already been true for a while in the Senate GOP conference: This is no longer a caucus of the old, Reagan-inspired guard, but instead one driven by loyalty to former President Donald Trump.

Yet, if Republicans are successful and win back control of the Senate in 2024, it will be because they heeded McConnell’s playbook rather than Trump’s, which proved disastrous in the midterms.

Although McConnell served two terms as National Republican Senatorial Committee chairman more than two decades ago (1997-2001), he has long been the de facto campaign strategist for Senate Republicans. Unlike many party leaders who are eager to push happy political narratives, McConnell is usually sober, often warning his members and the media that they shouldn’t “fall in love with the [Senate] map.” He’s been a big believer that money and candidate quality matter. In the last couple of cycles, however, his

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