Joe Biden and Donald Trump

President Joe Biden and ex-President Donald Trump. (AP)


LatAm in Focus: How Latin America Fits into the Biden-Trump Battle

Top political consultants Dough Sosnik and Russ Schriefer tell AS/COA’s Eric Farnsworth why migration at the U.S. Southern border may define the 2024 vote.

Latin America will be a major factor in the U.S. elections this year. After all, migration is a top issue on voters’ minds amid a polarized debate over how to manage the record number of people seeking to make their way to the United States.

Doug Sosnik
Doug Sosnik

Democrats and Republicans are strategically leveraging their respective migration platforms to galvanize their electoral bases. With that in mind, Council of the Americas brought together top political consultants from both camps to analyze the current U.S. political landscape in a panel moderated by AS/COA Vice President Eric Farnsworth. On one side, we had Doug Sosnik, senior advisor at The Brunswick Group and a consultant to high-profile Democrats such as former president Bill Clinton. On the other was Russ Schriefer, founding partner at Strategic Partners & Media and who has served as an advisor to prominent Republicans, including both ex-Presidents George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush. The panel, which was part of the 54th Washington Conference on the Americas, took place at the State Department on May 7. 

Russ Schriefer
Russ Schriefer

"When you talk to voters in focus groups and polls, immigration is generally the first or the second thing that they are talking about," said Schriefer.

Sosnik agreed. "When Trump was president, you couldn't get 40 percent of Americans in polling to say they supported the wall. Now, over half the country supports it,” he said. “If Biden were to lose in November, the two reasons will be inflation and this issue.”

The panel emphasized the uncertainty surrounding the election's direction, saying the outcome hinges on results in seven pivotal states—with voter turnout and education levels playing significant roles, per Sosnik. Schriefer highlighted the potential for a Trump presidency to intensify existing policies under the watch of a loyal staff and via an increased use of executive orders. Both analysts also noted a growing discontent with institutions among Americans, predicting heightened division and polarization post-November 5.

Latin America in Focus Podcast

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This episode was produced by Fabrizio Ricalde. The executive producer is Luisa Leme. Carin Zissis is the host.

This is the fifth episode in our 2024 election series. Prior episodes covered the economic agenda for Panama’s next president, the youth vote in Mexico, Nayib Bukele’s global reach, and how the Dominican election bucks regional political trends. Get this content and more electoral insights in this year’s election guide.

Watch the video of this event and all the conference panels and speeches of the 54th Washington Conference on the Americas

The music in this podcast is “A mis hermanos,” performed by C4 Trio for Americas Society. Find out about upcoming concerts at: