We're doomed! Beto O'Rourke starts presidential campaign by claiming the world faces 'catastrophe' and warns 'hundreds of millions' of climate refugees will overwhelm borders and humanity could go EXTINCT unless we fix the planet in 12 years

Former Texas Rep. Beto O'Rourke warned Thursday in his first presidential campaign stop that parts of the planet will soon become uninhabitable, driving a massive wave of climate 'refugees' across the U.S. border, if America's government doesn't adopt emergency measures within the next 12 years.
O'Rourke, 46, had formally announced an hour earlier that he will seek the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, ending months of speculation over whether he would try to translate his newfound political celebrity into a White House bid. 
In the southwestern Iowa town of Keokuk, a sweater-clad Beto told a smallish crowd that by the time his 12-year-old son is his age 'we may not be able to live in cities that we call home today, like El Paso, Texas. We may not be able to grow our own food and fiber, feed and clothe ourselves in this country.'
And in a silent nod to his differences with President Donald Trump on immigration issues, he downplayed the present national security threat of ever-larger seas of humanity crossing into the U.S. from Mexico and nations further to the south. It will get worse unless the planet heals, he warned. 
'If you think 300,000 immigrants and asylum-seekers apprehended on the southern border is a problem – and I don't necessarily think that it is,' he said, 'the kind of migration and refugee flows that we will see when entire bands of this world are no longer habitable will be a crisis of a different magnitude altogether.'
'We face catastrophe and crisis on this planet,' he insisted in a dour note, 'even if we were to stop emitting carbon today right now at this moment.'
Democrats on their party's far left wing have proposed a 'Green New Deal' that would spend tens of trillions of dollars to reshape the U.S. economy along environmental lines, eliminating air travel and gasoline-powered cars and replacing countless buildings with greener versions. O'Rourke didn't formally endorse the proposal on Thursday but said it's the best proposal he's heard. 

'Some will criticize the Green New Deal for being too bold or being unmanageable. I tell you what: I haven't seen anything better that addresses this singular crisis we face, a crisis that could at its worst lead to extinction,' he said.
'Literally, not to be melodramatic, but the future of the world depends on us, right now, here where we are.'
He painted an apocalyptic picture of America's future, claiming global warming will unleash 'massive migration of tens or hundreds of millions of people from countries that are literally uninhabitable or under water, that are above the sea right now.'
'Let us all be well aware that life is going to be a lot tougher for the generations that follow us, no matter what we do. It is only a matter of degrees,' he said. 
'And along this current trajectory there will be people who can no longer live in the cities that they call home today. There is food grown in the country that will no longer prosper in these soils. There is going to be massive migration of tens or hundreds of millions of people from countries that are literally uninhabitable or under water, that are above the sea right now. This is our final chance. The scientists are absolutely unanimous on this, that we have no more than 12 years to take incredibly bold action on this crisis.'
O'Rourke's online campaign began Thursday with announcements emailed in English and Spanish. An interview with CBS News will air Friday morning. And he will head to Iowa for three days of hand-to-hand campaigning. But in a head-scratching political move, the liberal media darling won't have an official launch speech until March 30. 
And while his campaign website was heavy on merchandise and fundraising buttons as he announced his candidacy, there was no sign at all of policies, political positions or his video — only a photo of a sweaty Beto with microphone in hand. 
The much-anticipated O'Rourke rollout was marked by a clumsy lack of coordination that left his supporters looking for a launch video for an hour before his campaign organization posted it on Twitter. O'Rourke's hometown newspaper, the El Paso Times, had it ahead of time, but no other news organization. 
And he confirmed his plans in a text message to an El Paso television station Wednesday night, leaving reporters across the country wondering whether they had missed the big reveal. 

Thursday's video features an up-and-down bobbing O'Rourke speaking as his wife Amy holds his arm and smiles. Tapping into the marquee issue that defines border zones like his native El Paso, Texas, he declares that 'if immigration is a problem, it's the best possible problem for this country to have.'
'We should ensure that there are lawful paths to work, to be with family and to flee persecution.' 
O'Rourke's quick embrace of the Democratic immigration policies that defined his main difference with Cruz came as President Donald Trump vented in the opposite direction on Twitter.
'The Democrats are “Border Deniers”,' Trump tweeted Thursday morning. 'They refuse to see or acknowledge the Death, Crime, Drugs and Human Traffictougking at our Southern Border!' 
Others on the right began earnestly targeting O'Rourke this week.
The conservative Club For Growth purchased TV time in Iowa for an ad blasting the Texas Democrat as an entitled son-in-law of a rich real estate developer who is guilty of cultural appropriation because he downplays his Irish and Welsh ancestry in favor of 'pretending' to be Hispanic.
'He's Barack Obama, but white,' the ad claims, parroting a description once offered in a Politico story.
O'Rourke's wife, Amy, is the daughter of Bill Sanders, a real-estate mogul whose net worth Forbes magazine estimates at about $500 million. 
The ad also describes O'Rourke as living a 'charmed life' of 'white male privilege' including preferential treatement after a DWI arrest at age 26, and claims he has escaped the consequences of 'behavior a woman or a person of color could never get away with.'
O'Rourke told the El Paso Times in an interview published Thursday that his campaign won't lean on large fundraising PACs, pollsters or political consultants 
'I am going to do everything it takes to win consistent with my values. I will never employ a pollster or take a poll to find what I believe or what I want to say,' he said, echoing what scores of American candidates have said in past elections before snapping to political realities. 
'I’ll never use a consultant to come up with the words I speak at a town hall or a rally, for better or for worse.'
'I just want to serve this country so badly to the highest of my ability' he said. 
And he told his Keokuk crowd that that he would run a clean campaign, avoiding Democrat-on-Democrat rhetorical violence.
'[It is] critically important that we not denigrate, demean any other candidate. We don't talk about their personal lives,' he said. 
'Any single Democrat running today, and I may not be able to enumerate every single one of them right now, would be far better than the current occupant of the White House.'
O'Rourke got within 3 percentage points of upsetting Cruz in the nation's largest red state — and shattered national fundraising records in the process — immediately fueling chatter that he could have higher ambitions.
Now O'Rourke must prove whether the energy he brought to the Texas campaign will resonate on a much larger stage. For all the buzz associated with his candidacy, the former three-term congressman hasn't demonstrated much skill in domestic or foreign policy. 
And, as a white man, he's entering a field of a dozen other candidates that has been celebrated for its diverse roster of women and people and color.
'This is going to be a positive campaign that seeks to bring out the very best from every single one of us, that seeks to unite a very divided country,' O'Rourke said in a video announcement with his wife on a couch. 'We saw the power of this in Texas.'
O'Rourke promises in the video posted Thursday: 'I'm going to travel this country and listen to those I seek to serve' and then will return to El Paso on March 30 for a campaign kickoff. He invites would-be supporters 'to the greatest grassroots campaign this country has ever seen.'
'The challenges that we face right now in the interconnected crises of our economy, our democracy and our climate have never been greater. And they will either consume us or they will afford us the greatest opportunity to unleash the genius of the United States of America,' he says. 'In other words this moment of peril produces, perhaps, the greatest moment of promise for this country and everyone inside of it.'
'We can begin by fixing our democracy and ensuring that our government works for everyone, and not just for corporations. We can invest in the dignity of those who work and those who seek to work.'  
O'Rourke joins a large and unsettled 2020 field in which his fundraising prowess, bipartisan optimism, southwestern Texas charm and anti-establishment attitude could quickly make him a political force. His lack of governing experience could hurt, but President Donald Trump's rise suggests that the U.S. electorate might welcome a charismatic outsider.
The sports and entertainment world already had its eye on O'Rourke during the Senate campaign: NBA star LeBron James wore an O'Rourke hat after video of the Texan defending NFL players' right to protest during the national anthem went viral. Beyonce, a Houston native, endorsed O'Rourke.
And he was the only presidential prospect interviewed in February by Oprah Winfrey, who appeared genuinely excited about the prospect of an O'Rourke White House run.
Should he parlay a 2018 Senate defeat into a successful 2020 White House campaign, O'Rourke would be the first U.S. politician to do so since Abraham Lincoln lost his Senate bid to Stephen Douglas in Illinois in 1858, then was elected president two years later.
Democrats have long dreamed that a booming Hispanic population and droves of Americans moving to Texas from elsewhere could turn the nation's largest red state blue and transform the Electoral College by making the Republican path to the presidency all but impossible. It remains to be seen, though, whether O'Rourke's home-state appeal could truly make Texas competitive. Another Texan, former Obama administration housing chief Julian Castro, was already running.
Trump has repeatedly blasted the idea of an O'Rourke presidential try, calling him a 'flake' and a 'total lightweight' and joking, 'I thought you were supposed to win before you run for president.'
O'Rourke visited all 254 of Texas' counties while running for Senate and often drew larger-than-expected crowds, including in conservative areas that Democrats gave up on decades ago. It's a strategy that could serve him well in Iowa, which kicks off presidential voting and where Cruz campaigned in all 99 counties before winning its caucus during the 2016 GOP presidential primary.
The Texan's advisers have reached out to early-state Democratic officials seeking advice for potential hires and strategy. And, in New Hampshire, home to the nation's first primary, an O'Rourke adviser asked for guidance on how they might schedule a driving tour through the state should he arrive coming from the West — indicating that a cross-country trip of sorts might be part of a campaign rollout plan.
Although he isn't among the first wave of Democrats to jump into the race, O'Rourke enters with strong national name recognition. Democratic operatives in states with early presidential primaries, including South Carolina and Nevada, have formed Draft Beto groups that spent months fundraising, lining up potential O'Rourke endorsements and building campaign infrastructure until their candidate was ready.
A onetime guitarist for an El Paso punk band called Foss, O'Rourke boosted his already considerable nonpolitical street cred in the Senate race with a viral video showing him skateboarding across a Whataburger restaurant parking lot. His trademark black-and-white 'Beto for Senate' signs became hipster must-haves last year in some parts of Seattle, Los Angeles and Brooklyn.
O'Rourke refused support from outside political groups and shunned pollsters during his Senate campaign. But he harnessed growing nationwide popularity to rake in $80-plus million in donations, including a staggering $38 million from July to September 2018 alone.
While challenging Cruz, O'Rourke insisted that he had no interest in running for president, vowing to quietly return to El Paso should he lose. But during his election night concession speech, he let rip the kind of casual swearing that freckled an unorthodox campaign, declaring to supporters on national television: 'All of you, showing the country how you do this, I'm so f---ing proud of you guys,' before promising, 'We'll see you down the road.'
Other 2020 Democratic hopefuls have promoted their extensive legislative records. O'Rourke passed just three bills during his six years in Congress: two related to temporary health benefits and college tuition assistance to veterans and one renaming El Paso's federal courthouse.
While running for Senate, he offered an unapologetically liberal vision, supporting Trump's impeachment, universal health care, gun control, marijuana decriminalization, steep federal subsidies for prekindergarten education and relaxed immigration policies. But he's drawn criticism from supporters of Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders' 2016 Democratic presidential campaign who worry O'Rourke is too moderate to excite Democrats' liberal base.
O'Rourke has shrugged off such complaints, saying he doesn't know if he's liberal enough to be called a 'progressive' and doesn't much care for party labels. But it's a question he may not be able to duck forever, especially with Sanders in the 2020 Democratic presidential primary fray.  
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