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The news that Mitch McConnell privately welcomes the impeachment of Donald Trump is no more surprising than Mike Pence declining to activate the 25th Amendment to remove the President. Both stories broke on Tuesday night and their contradictory tones appear to reflect the contradictory nature of the current Republican Party.
On the one side, we have McConnell, an accomplished political player who understands the pragmatics of two-party politics and recognises the danger that Trump poses to the GOP. On the other, we have Pence who knows what it means to stay loyal to a single worldview. The developing story is one about a party learning to navigate between those twin poles of attraction: the hard politics of power in America and the opinion of voters obsessed with strict party loyalty. It appears to ask that huge existential question of Republicans. Which do they cherish the most: power or partisanship?