Not guilty but guilty — What should Democrats do next?

Not guilty but guilty — What should Democrats do next?
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President TrumpDonald John TrumpHR McMaster says president's policy to withdraw troops from Afghanistan is 'unwise' Cast of 'Parks and Rec' reunite for virtual town hall to address Wisconsin voters Biden says Trump should step down over coronavirus response MORE has been acquitted on both articles of impeachment. Now the political wrangling begins, and Democrats have to decide when and where to draw the line on challenging the president further on the Ukraine scandal and how to navigate the path ahead for the reelection. As Trump takes his victory lap, the opposing party needs to find its way. 

The first thing Democrats should do is subpoena former national security adviser John BoltonJohn BoltonDiplomacy with China is good for America The Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by The Air Line Pilots Association - Pence lauds Harris as 'experienced debater'; Trump, Biden diverge over debate prep DOJ launches probe into Bolton book for possible classified information disclosures MORE. Second, they should keep investigating the president’s financial interests, his tax returns and his ties to Moscow. Now is not the time for Democrats to take their foot off the gas.

The next move for Democrats is to send money – lots of it – to moderate senators like Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneyGOP-led panel to hear from former official who said Burisma was not a factor in US policy Joe Biden's dangerous view of 'normalcy' The electoral reality that the media ignores MORE (R-Utah) and Doug Jones (D-Ala.) and to campaign against Lamar AlexanderAndrew (Lamar) Lamar AlexanderTrump health officials grilled over reports of politics in COVID-19 response Now is the time to renew our focus on students and their futures CDC says asymptomatic people don't need testing, draws criticism from experts MORE (R-Tenn.), Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsThe Hill's Campaign Report: Biden asks if public can trust vaccine from Trump ahead of Election Day | Oklahoma health officials raised red flags before Trump rally Gideon leads Collins by 12 points in Maine Senate race: poll Senate leaders quash talk of rank-and-file COVID-19 deal MORE (R-Maine) and Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiGOP ramps up attacks on Democrats over talk of nixing filibuster OVERNIGHT ENERGY: House Democrats tee up vote on climate-focused energy bill next week | EPA reappoints controversial leader to air quality advisory committee | Coronavirus creates delay in Pentagon research for alternative to 'forever chemicals' House Democrats tee up vote on climate-focused energy bill next week MORE (R-Alaska). The failure by almost all Republican senators to face up to the facts, speak truth to power and buck their party loyalties to uphold the Constitution is sad. But the final verdict will be made when voters go to the polls to elect the next president. There must be a price to pay for dishonest voting.


In addition to pushing back against Trump, the Democratic Party needs to get its own house in order, coalesce around one candidate and ensure that technological glitches do not occur again as they did in Iowa. At issue is voter trust and turnout. The Democratic National Committee must find new voices and demand change before Super Tuesday to galvanize voters and renew a sense of momentum in the national electorate. 

Over the past decade, Democrats have ceded a lot of territory to Republicans in local offices – from school boards to county legislatures – and have failed to build grassroots campaigns for mayors and governors. A party that prides itself on being close to the people must get closer to real voters in real time. There are issues around education, health, taxes and support for the dwindling middle class that Democrats are missing the mark on and yielding to the right. 

Lastly, Democrats should remember our veterans and troops, many of whom are nervous about how the commander-in-chief is behaving. The lack of transparency about how dozens of troops suffered brain injuries in Iraq in the wake of a strike by Iran is bound to leave military families reeling.  

Good public servants came forth at the end of 2019 to reveal that the commander-in-chief put his personal interests first and held vital military assistance to an American ally, Ukraine, because he wanted to investigate a political opponent, former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenCast of 'Parks and Rec' reunite for virtual town hall to address Wisconsin voters Biden says Trump should step down over coronavirus response Biden tells CNN town hall that he has benefited from white privilege MORE. Something truly wrong happened, and the only real winner from all this was Russian President Vladimir PutinVladimir Vladimirovich PutinFBI chief says Russia is trying to interfere in election to undermine Biden Traces of nerve agent found in water bottle in Navalny's hotel room, colleagues say Russia: US trying to foment revolution in Belarus MORE, who has sowed discord in America, disrupted our European allies, maneuvered to manipulate our elections and continues to terrorize Russia's neighbor Ukraine

Republicans have dishonored public servants by criticizing everyone from FBI agents to ambassadors to Colonel Alexander Vindman, who testified boldly during the impeachment hearings. Democrats can be the party that reinvigorates public service by encouraging young people to sign up to work at the State Department, for the military and all agencies of government. 

Now is the time for a new generation to emerge to roll back all the damage that President Trump has wrought. Democrats should lead the charge.

Tara D. Sonenshine is former U.S. under-secretary of state for public diplomacy and public affairs. She currently serves as Senior Career Advisor at George Washington University's Elliott School of International Affairs.