Keynote speaker at IFAI Expo Americas 2011: Charles E. Cook Jr.

Following IFAI’s annual meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 25, attendees were treated to a reasoned and occasionally biting analysis of U.S. politics by Charles E. Cook Jr., editor and publisher of the Cook Political Report and political analyst for NBC News and the National Journal. Cook analyzed the twists and turns of U.S. elections for the last 40-50 years, and, focusing on the incredibly even splits between political parties in recent years, suggested that it is the people who classify themselves as “independents”—whose votes and allegiances tend to swing with the issues, and the economy—who are the key voters that are deciding elections.

Cook cautioned the audience that the elections are 12 months away and anything can happen, but suggested that, given the current state of the economy, the 2012 presidential election is probably “the Republican party’s to lose”—but also noted that the GOP’s extremely conservative factions will have to focus on economic issues and not social issues in choosing a candidate, or risk alienating that changeable swing vote.

Additional coverage of the keynote address will be included in the December issue of Specialty Fabrics Review magazine.