Not guilty but guilty — What should Democrats do next?

Not guilty but guilty — What should Democrats do next?
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President TrumpDonald TrumpTrump announces new tranche of endorsements DeSantis, Pence tied in 2024 Republican poll Lawmakers demand changes after National Guard troops at Capitol sickened from tainted food 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 BoltonTrump offered North Korea's Kim a ride home on Air Force One: report Key impeachment figure Pence sticks to sidelines Bolton lawyer: Trump impeachment trial is constitutional 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 RomneyDemocratic centrists flex power on Biden legislation Ron Johnson grinds Senate to halt, irritating many Romney's TRUST Act is a Trojan Horse to cut seniors' benefits MORE (R-Utah) and Doug Jones (D-Ala.) and to campaign against Lamar AlexanderLamar AlexanderCongress addressed surprise medical bills, but the issue is not resolved Trump renominates Judy Shelton in last-ditch bid to reshape Fed Senate swears-in six new lawmakers as 117th Congress convenes MORE (R-Tenn.), Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsSenate rejects Sanders minimum wage hike Murkowski votes with Senate panel to advance Haaland nomination OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Interior reverses Trump policy that it says restricted science | Collins to back Haaland's Interior nomination | Republicans press Biden environment nominee on Obama-era policy MORE (R-Maine) and Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiSenate rejects Sanders minimum wage hike The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Virus relief bill headed for weekend vote Hillicon Valley: YouTube to restore Trump's account | House-passed election bill takes aim at foreign interference | Senators introduce legislation to create international tech partnerships 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 BidenSenate holds longest vote in history as Democrats scramble to save relief bill Ex-Trump appointee arrested in Capitol riot complains he won't be able to sleep in jail Biden helps broker Senate deal on unemployment benefits MORE. Something truly wrong happened, and the only real winner from all this was Russian President Vladimir PutinVladimir Vladimirovich PutinWhite House calls Microsoft email breach an 'active threat' As gas prices soar, Americans can blame Joe Biden How to think about Russia 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.