#2024WCA: Outlook for the U.S. Elections

Political consultants Doug Sosnik and Russ Schriefer talk about what's at stake for the Biden and Trump campaigns this year.


  • Doug Sosnik, Democratic political consultant
  • Russ Schriefer, Republican political consultant
  • Eric Farnsworth, Vice President, Council of the Americas

Latin America may not be grabbing headlines ahead of the U.S. elections, but it's intricately linked to one of the top issues on American voters' minds: migration. This insight was shared by political consultants Doug Sosnik and Russ Schriefer during a luncheon for COA members at the State Department as part of the 54th Washington Conference on the Americas on May 7. Moderated by COA's Vice President Eric Farnsworth, the panel highlighted the consensus among political experts that migration, particularly at the U.S. Southern border, will significantly influence this year's elections.

Sosnik and Schriefer dissected the U.S. political context today, highlighting that there is much uncertainty about the direction the vote will take. This will be a very close election that hinges on outcomes in seven key states, said Schriefer. Voters' educational levels will be a big driver for turnout and influencing results, said Sosnik. The consultants explained that a Trump presidency would involve the same policies from when he was president, but "on steroids," with a loyal staff and ruling "by executive order," said Schriefer.

According to Sosnik, a Trump presidency would involve dismantling aspects of the "deep state and the civil service," and that the now-experienced leader could be more effective. Regarding President Joe Biden's potential second term, both experts suggested it would primarily focus on solidifying policies from the first four years. However, they noted that Biden's emphasis on long-term, transformative issues like energy transition and addressing significant challenges such as the war in Gaza might not effectively counter the "strongman" narrative prevalent on the Republican side. 

Both analysts elaborated on Americans' general discontent with institutions, predicting increased division and polarization post-November 5 and noting the sense that government leaders are disconnected from many areas of the country. Sosnik emphasized that the side that clearly defines the election's focal point would emerge victorious. "If this election becomes a referendum on Biden, he will lose...If it centers on Trump, Biden will win," he remarked.