What’s the Matter with Florida? Comparing the 2000 and 2018 Election Recounts

Bush v. Gore Florida recount attorney, and veteran campaign operative, Todd Elmer joins the pod to describe what the chaos inside an election recount looks like, while reflecting on the opportunity America has to protect the voices of voters in Georgia, Arizona, and Florida.

Todd Elmer has built a 20 year career at the intersection of politics, law, communications, and artificial intelligence policy. Most recently, he served as part of the DNC’s national Deployment Project, which sent seasoned political veterans to support targeted Congressional races in the 2018 midterm elections and help win back the House of Representatives to Democratic control.  That recent service traced back to his experience in the 2000 presidential campaign of Al Gore, where he worked at the campaign headquarters and was then deployed to serve as a Democratic attorney in the 2000 Florida recount.
In addition, he has served as White House advance staff for President Bill Clinton, Vice President Al Gore, Vice President Joe Biden and Dr. Jill Biden at official events throughout the United States and around the world.  He spent several years in the administration of President Barack Obama, where he was appointed to be the Chief Communications Officer of the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), directing all internal, external, and crisis communications, as well as social media and business engagement efforts, for the 13,000 person federal intellectual property agency.
Prior to joining the Obama administration, he directed communications and public affairs initiatives for artificial intelligence pioneer H5. Mr. Elmer’s public affairs and policy work with H5 supported the company’s efforts to effectively replicate and automate expert human relevance assessments through a precise combination of patented artificial intelligence technologies and a proprietary professional services process.
Prior to joining H5, Mr. Elmer designed corporate communications and public affairs strategies for a wide variety of Fortune 500 corporations and national political organizations. He also practiced law within the public and private sectors, as an international trade attorney at the U.S. Department of Commerce and in the Washington, D.C. office of Kaye Scholer.  
Mr. Elmer holds a Juris Doctor, with distinction, from Emory University School of Law and a Bachelor of Arts degree, cum laude, from Furman University.

Banning Gender: How America is Attempting to Rewrite Definitions of Sex

The first openly transgender staffer to The White House, Raffi FreedmanGurspan, outlines how Americans can stand up to a White House plan to rewrite definitions of sex in this country, and undercut protections for millions of non-gender conforming citizens.

Raffi Freedman-Gurspan is the Director of External Relations at the National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE), where she oversees public education and field organizing operations. She was both a Senior Associate Director for Public Engagement, where she served as the primary liaison to the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community, and Outreach and Recruitment Director for Presidential Personnel at the White House from 2015-2017. Raffi was the first openly transgender staffer to work at the White House. She also currently sits on the United States Holocaust Memorial Council as an appointee named by President Barack Obama.

5 Issues to Watch as a result of Tuesday’s elections


As the nation turned out to the ballot box in record numbers for the November midterm elections…

…the world watched in awe as Americans were pitted against each other with threats of migrant caravans and the loss of healthcare.

But what does the make-up of the new Congress (and the promise of newly minted elected officials) actually mean for Immigration? Privacy? Infrastructure? Or American civility?

What the City of Chicago is Doing to Re-Claim the American Dream

Chicago, immigrants, and American identity…

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel has stood up to anyone who tries to point at a finger at an immigrant in Chicago and imply that they’re not welcome in this country. Seemi Choudry, the Director of the Office of New Americans, is the muscle behind that backbone and has built new sources to help anyone afraid of losing their American identity, keep it, and reimagine the promise of this country.

How the Republican Party Courts College Campuses

Ahead of the November 6th elections, executive director of the College Republican National Committee (CRNC) Ted Dooley  joins Vikrum Aiyer. on location at the Concordia Annual Summit in New York City, to discuss how the GOP engages college campuses across the country to  be an “R” in the age of Trump.

Ted Dooley is the Executive Director of the College Republican National Committee. Prior to that, he served as the organization’s National Co-Chairman, Regional Vice-Chairman, and was a three-term State Chairman for the Massachusetts Alliance of College Republicans.

Aside from his work with College Republicans, Ted most recently worked as Vice President of Merrimack Potomac + Charles, a full-service strategic communications firm based in Boston and Concord, NH where he oversaw a broad range of strategic communications campaigns across the region. Ted began his political career managing and consulting for local and state Republican campaigns in Massachusetts. During the 2016 cycle, Ted served as a digital media advisor to New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu’s campaign.

Ted has been quoted in The Boston Globe, The Boston Herald, Politico, CNN, ABC Nightly News, Fusion, Univision and other outlets for his insights on millennial politics and the Republican party.

What Jamal Khashoggi’s Murder Means for Free Expression in the United States

Politico’s Daniel Lippman and seasoned investigative journalist Tim Burger join the pod to discuss what the gruesome death of Saudi Arabian journalist Jamal Khashoggi and The White House reaction means for a free & open media at home, and around the world.

Daniel Lippman is a reporter for POLITICO and a co-author of POLITICO’s Playbook, the most indispensable morning newsletter for the biggest influencers in politics. He graduated from The Hotchkiss School in 2008 and from The George Washington University in 2012. Daniel hails from the Berkshires in western Massachusetts and enjoys playing tennis, seeing movies and trying out new restaurants in his free time.

Tim Burger is a writer and consultant based in the Washington, DC, area, where he was a full-time journalist from 1989 until 2010.  Tim broke numerous investigative, national security and political stories as a staff writer at publications such as TIMEMagazine, the New York Daily News, Bloomberg News, Roll Call and Legal Times. Tim recently wrote a widely-noted article in POLITICO Magazine last June about gay staff in the George W. Bush White House. He is a contributor to VICE News, where in December he broke the story of Congress effectively legalizing medical marijuana in the year-end spending bill (by defunding Justice Department enforcement of the federal ban on medical marijuana in states that have approved it) — the biggest change in marijuana law in 50 years.

What the hell is blockchain? – with Sam Cassat, Chief Strategy Officer of Consensys


How blockchain could transform the world…

ConsensysAs revolutions in technology continue to change the way we interact with the world, perhaps no one tool promises to change the way we move assets around the world other than Blockchain. The mystique of blockchain technologies and cryptocurrencies continue to be investigated by skeptics by are being leveraged by believers to change everything from the way we bank, to the way we vote, to the way we build governments. Sam Cassat, the Chief Strategy Officer of Consensys (one of the world’s leading block chain labs), joins Vikrum Aiyer on location at the Concordia Annual Summit in New York City.

Keeping the American Promise – with Todd Schulte of FWD.US

Todd Schulte

Has our broken immigration and criminal justice systems locked too many people out from the American dream?

Todd SchulteTodd Schulte, President of FWD.us, a bipartisan political organization that believes America’s families, communities, and economy thrive when more individuals are able to achieve their full potential, joins Vikrum Aiyer at the 2018 Concordia Annual Summit in New York City.

In this episode:

  • The Trump administration’s political rhetoric vs. policy
  • The objective of drastically fewer immgirants
  • Designing an immigration system that works in the 21st Century requires pressure on officials
  • Certain industries require immigrants, and as immigration systems changes, industries must change
  • America’s economy and identity both hurt
  • How our broken immigration and criminal justice systems have locked too many people out from the American dream
  • Keeping the American promise

Does the Gain of a Supreme Court Justice Mean A Loss for the Court?

Brett Kavanaugh is now Associate Justice Kavanaugh.

What does this controversial addition to the Supreme Court of the United States mean for the identity of the court, the country, and consent?

Host Vikrum Aiyer offers some perspective, and heads to the streets and subways of the San Francisco Bay Area for public reaction.

Why build prisons when you can build people? – With Stanley Richards of The Fortune Society


StanleyHow do we train and upscale workers for the 21st Century? And how can an entire pipeline of 7 million formerly incarcerated workers, seeking to be productive in society, “skill-up”. contribute, and fill roles competitively in the labor market, connect with willing and welcoming company?

Stanley Richards, Executive Vice President at The Fortune Society, a non-profit organization based in New York City, NY with a mission to support successful reentry from prison and promote alternatives to incarceration, joins Vikrum Aiyer at the 2018 Concordia Annual Summit in New York City.

Richards serves at The Fortune Society, a $35 million non-profit organization based in New York City, with a mission to support successful reentry from jail and prison and promote alternatives to incarceration, thus strengthening the fabric of our communities. Mr. Richards is second in charge and is involved in all aspects of the agency including the development and implementation of programs – discharge planning, education, workforce development, HIV/AIDS services, supportive housing, family services, substance use disorder treatment and mental health services, alternatives to incarceration and access to health care. Mr. Richards is a formerly incarcerated man of color and has over 30 years of experience in the criminal justice field. Mr. Richards has developed the expertise and extensive knowledge of programs, services, policies, and systems that impact the lives of people involved in the criminal justice system and reenter society. Mr. Richards was honored by the Obama Administration as a “Champion of Change” for his commitment to helping formerly incarcerated individuals reenter successfully into society.

Mr. Richards was also a member of Governor Cuomo’s Ending the Epidemic Task Force which produced New York State’s Blueprint to End the AIDS Epidemic. Mr. Richards was a key participant in the NYC Discharge Planning Collaboration launched in 2004 by NYC Dept. of Corrections (DOC) and NYC Dept. of Homeless Services (DHS) that led to the launch of the Rikers Island Discharge Enhancement (RIDE) program. Mr. Richards graduated from Medaille College. He is certified as a Counseling Aide by the NYS Department of Labor. Mr. Richards was a Robert Wood Johnson Fellow in their Developing Leadership Program to Reduce Substance Use and completed Columbia University’s Institute for Non-Profit, School of Business Management, Executive Management Program. Mr. Richards is a member of the Board of Directors of JobsFirstNYC, an intermediary with a mission to reduce the number of out-of-school and out-of-work young people in NYC He also serves on the NYC Administration for Children’s Services (ACS) Juvenile Justice Oversight Board and the Vera Institute of Justice National Leadership Group: Pathways from Prison to Post-Secondary Education; as well as the Vera Institutional Review Board. Mr. Richards also serves on Community Board (7) in the Bronx.