CNN  — 

On Tuesday, Mitch McConnell did it again. Won, that is.

Less than 24 hours removed from the bombshell from former national security adviser John Bolton that he would testify in President Donald Trump’s Senate impeachment trial if subpoenaed, McConnell announced that he had the votes to begin the trial without any decision on whether witnesses can be called.

And he had those votes because the potential renegade Republicans among his colleagues – Sens. Lisa Murkowski (Alaska), Mitt Romney (Utah) and Susan Collins (Maine), among others – had stayed in line, refusing to break with him on what is one in a series of high-pressure and high-profile votes.

The simple fact, reaffirmed by McConnell’s show of force so soon after Bolton’s bombshell, is that the Kentucky Republican is incredibly effective at keeping his GOP colleagues in line when he (and Trump) need them most.

The most recent high-profile example, of course, was the confirmation vote to make Brett Kavanaugh a Supreme Court justice. On both the vote to end unlimited debate (aka cloture) and final confirmation for Kavanaugh, McConnell got the exact number of votes he needed – 50.

(Murkowski voted against invoking cloture on Kavanaugh and then voted “present” on final confirmation, canceling out the planned “yes” vote by Republican Sen. Steve Daines of Montana, who wasn’t at the vote.)

But on a variety of other measures – most notably the confirmation of a slew of federal judges – McConnell has simply checked off box after box, thanks to his uncanny ability to keep his conference loyal to him.

How does he do it? Well, McConnell has always understood that what senators (or, really, all politicians) care most about is themselves and their reelections. And he has spent decades, literally, doing favors of the policy and political varieties for Republican senators.

As a result, they are loyal to him. And perhaps more importantly, they trust him to look out for them and keep them as safe as any Republican can be in the age of Trump.

That loyalty to McConnell from Republican senators makes Democrats crazy. McConnell may well be Democrats’ most hated man – this side of Trump, of course.

That dislike actually works to McConnell’s advantage when it comes to wrangling his Republican colleagues. That he is more than willing to take all the slings and arrows – and, more importantly, protect them from being hit – makes him all the more beloved.

The Point: Trump, because he is Trump, gives no one credit for his success because he has to take all the credit for it. But if Trump survives this Senate trial and has a decent shot of getting reelected in November, he should say a very big “thank you” to McConnell.