Former state Rep. Joseph Walkovich, Mayor Mark Boughton and moderator James Bellano talked over the 2012 presidential election, concluding Republicans have to change their plan.
Boughton and Walkovich analyzed the election for about 50 people at the 16th annual Business to Business Showcase sponsored by the Greater Danbury Chamber of Commerce at the Ethan Allen Inn.
"This coalition has been a problem for Republican candidates," Boughton said, after opening his remarks with, "The Republicans got beat. That's what happened."
Boughton said it twice and he got laughs both times.
Walkovich said the Democratic coalition is a picture of the changing face of America. He said, for example, it included women, young voters, the elderly, African Americans, Hispanics, Asians and for the first time, white men were a minority in the November election. He said women made up 53 percent of the voters, and 55 percent of women voted for President Obama.
"There has to be a better job done to explain what the priorities are for the party," Boughton said. He suggested a good first step might be Republican politicians speaking in other parts of the country not talking about social issues and instead focus on the economy. "If you have to debate for five minutes that you're not having a war on women, you lost the debate."
Boughton said presidential elections follow cycles, and he said Republicans had their way in 1984 with President Ronald Reagan, and Democrats had their way in 1992 with President Bill Clinton. In 2012, it went for President Barack Obama.
Both Walkovich and Boughton said they think President Obama will work with the Republican House of Representatives to reach a compromise on the pending federal fiscal crisis. Both Boughton and Walkovich said finding that compromise will be difficult, but if Washington settles for a quick and easy solution, a lingering problem will remain for deficits facing both Social Security and Medicare.
Walkovich said the cuts to defense that might be considered must take into account the effect those cuts could have on Danbury businesses, including the city's numerous defense contractors.
At the same time, Boughton said the huge, expensive government programs could break the bank.
"If they don't address these things, you're going to go bankrupt," Boughton said.