Washington Post reporter talks to Fresno State students before election

Washington Post reporter Robert Costa speaks about the upcoming election and current political climate in the President's Lecture Series on Oct. 8, 2020. (Andrea Marin Contreras/The Collegian)

Once again, national political reporter Robert Costa spoke on the current political climate during the President’s Lecture Series on Oct. 8, 2020, through Zoom.

Costa, a journalist for The Washington Post, political analyst for NBC and moderator of Washington Week on PBS, talked about the 2020 election, California politicians, the Supreme Court nomination, climate change and more in his hour-long lecture and Q&A session. 

“You are in the center of history,” Costa said. He centered his lecture by stating how important and present California politicians are in this year’s election. 

Costa announced House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) will be creating a 25th Amendment commission, along with Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.), to make recommendations about the 25th Constitutional Amendment over Pelosi’s concerns on Trump’s fitness for office.

The 25th amendment states the vice president becomes president if the president resigns, dies or is removed from office. Raskin has been working on creating a panel to review this amendment and clarify the parameters of it for years, Costa confirmed. 

“I did not expect it to be this much history every hour, every day,” Costa said.

Following that, Costa mentioned California Sen. and Democratic Vice Presidential nominee Kamala Harris as one of the most relevant California figures during this year. Harris brings a lot of focus on race issues and climate change and provides an energetic and youthful perspective to the Democratic Party, Costa said. Harris will also be in the Senate Judiciary Committee asking questions to Amy Coney Barett, Trump’s pick for the Supreme Court vacancy. 

“We are seeing the fast-changing face in presentation of the American electorate now showcasing itself in the democratic ticket and she [Harris] represents a new generation of Democrats that is coming up in places like California,” Costa said. 

Costa recommended listening closely to what answers Barett will give to this committee and how straightforward her answers will be because this will let Americans know if she will make a change to Roe v. Wade once she becomes a justice. 

Roe v. Wade is a Supreme Court landmark decision that made abortion legal in the United States in 1973. However, many later Supreme Court decisions, including Planned Parenthood v. Casey, gave states the authority to regulate abortion as long as restrictions made didn’t impose an “undue burden.” States have passed more than 450 laws regulating and restricting access to abortion since 2011.

Since the beginning of the Trump administration, Vice President Mike Pence has been critical of abortion and institutions like Planned Parenthood.

“I’m pro-life. I don’t apologize for it,” Pence said at the vice presidential debates on Tuesday.

Barett’s confirmation would secure a conservative majority on the Supreme Court, and many people believe this majority would make attempts to limit abortion access in the US.

Former Rep. David Valadao (R-Calif.) and Rep. T.J. Cox’s (D-Calif.) race for California’s 21st District is another major race that citizens need to pay attention to, Costa said. Valadao’s campaign will be endorsed by Trump, but Valadao has worked with former President Barack Obama, a Democratic president, to bring water to the Central Valley. Costa said Valadao uses this work in his campaign advertisements to get votes from people with different backgrounds. 

As far as the 2020 election, Costa believes Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden needs to win over moderates and not seem too radical to win the presidency. 

“Biden needs the enthusiasm and energy in cities like Fresno to win the nomination,” Costa said. He also believes that if former Vice President Biden wins, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) will hold Biden accountable on issues of climate change and health care. 

During the Q&A session, Costa was asked how much influence young Republicans, who speak out on climate change, could have on the Republican Party.

“It’s going to be an uphill battle for young Republicans,” Costa said. Climate change is still not present in current GOP members since most Republicans are more concerned about protection of trade and are skeptical of climate change.

Costa also added that there is tension and divide between his Republican sources who aren’t sure how Trump would react if he loses the presidency. 

“There’s a big difference between President Trump saying he doesn’t agree with the result and actively contesting the result,” Costa said. “He is protective of his brand. He wants to be seen as a winner but he’ll leave. He understands how the system works,” some of Trump’s “inner circle” members told Costa. 

Lastly, Costa emphasized the importance of objectivity and accuracy in the news. Even when Trump has called him “fake news,” Costa believes in keeping integrity and doing his job to inform citizens. 

“It’s not the media, it’s not the politicians, it’s the American voters that will determine the curse of the nation,” Costa said.

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