Not guilty but guilty — What should Democrats do next?

Not guilty but guilty — What should Democrats do next?
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President TrumpDonald TrumpChinese apps could face subpoenas, bans under Biden executive order: report Kim says North Korea needs to be 'prepared' for 'confrontation' with US Ex-Colorado GOP chair accused of stealing more than 0K from pro-Trump PAC 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 BoltonUS drops lawsuit, closes probe over Bolton book John Bolton: Biden-Putin meeting 'premature' Republicans request documents on Kerry's security clearance process 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 RomneyThe Hill's Morning Report - After high-stakes Biden-Putin summit, what now? China's genocide must be stopped How Biden can get the infrastructure bill through Congress MORE (R-Utah) and Doug Jones (D-Ala.) and to campaign against Lamar AlexanderLamar AlexanderAuthorities link ex-Tennessee governor to killing of Jimmy Hoffa associate The Republicans' deep dive into nativism Senate GOP faces retirement brain drain MORE (R-Tenn.), Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsSenate confirms Radhika Fox to lead EPA's water office Pelosi says she's giving Senate more time on Jan. 6 commission Overnight Energy: Schumer to trigger reconciliation process Wednesday | Bipartisan bill would ban 'forever chemicals' in cosmetics | Biden admin eyes step toward Trump-era proposal for uranium reserve MORE (R-Maine) and Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiSenate confirms Radhika Fox to lead EPA's water office Democrat presses Haaland on oil and gas review Hundreds in West Virginia protest Manchin's opposition to voting rights legislation 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 BidenChinese apps could face subpoenas, bans under Biden executive order: report OVERNIGHT ENERGY:  EPA announces new clean air advisors after firing Trump appointees |  Senate confirms Biden pick for No. 2 role at Interior | Watchdog: Bureau of Land Management saw messaging failures, understaffing during pandemic Poll: Majority back blanket student loan forgiveness MORE. Something truly wrong happened, and the only real winner from all this was Russian President Vladimir PutinVladimir Vladimirovich PutinHillicon Valley: Senate unanimously confirms Chris Inglis as first White House cyber czar | Scrutiny mounts on Microsoft's surveillance technology | Senators unveil bill to crack down on cyber criminals Ukrainian diplomat calls for Russia to withdraw after Biden-Putin summit Meghan McCain, Whoopi Goldberg spar over Biden's outburst at CNN reporter 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.