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Beto O’Rourke holds huge rally near the southern border — that Trump threatens to close

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Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke held a major rally in El Paso, Texas, on Saturday, a city thrust to the center of America’s immigration debate by President Donald Trump and the U.S government this week.

O’Rourke, a former congressman from El Paso, kicked off a series of three rallies in Texas in his bid to become the Democratic nominee a day after Republican Trump threatened to close the U.S. border with Mexico as soon as next week.

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Speaking in El Paso, a few hundred yards from the border with Mexico, O’Rourke decried the Trump administration’s immigration policies and the president’s call for a border wall.

“We’ll find security not through walls,” he declared to cheers from several hundred supporters as he officially launched his presidential campaign.

Before switching to Spanish to finish his speech, O’Rourke denounced what he called Trump’s policies of “fear and division” and accused the president of seeking “to keep us apart and to make us afraid of one another.”

“Let’s remember, every single one of us are fellow human beings and deserve to be treated like fellow human beings,” he said.

O’Rourke’s rally in El Paso was long-planned, but the city became central to America’s immigration debate this week.

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U.S. Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Kevin K. McAleenan told reporters in El Paso on Wednesday the southern border system was at breaking point because of the number of illegal immigrants crossing the border each day.

Trump, who is still determined to build a barrier along parts of the southern border, said on Friday: “There’s a very good likelihood that I’ll be closing the border next week, and that will be just fine with me.”

Trump has repeatedly said he would close the U.S. border with Mexico during his two years in office. His latest threat had workers and students who frequently cross the border worried about the potential disruption to their lives.

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Trump and O’Rourke held dueling rallies in February in El Paso, which is already divided from Mexico by steel fencing.

Trump wants it reinforced and hundreds of miles of additional fencing built along the border. O’Rourke opposes any new border structures and opposition to Trump’s border wall and immigration policies has been a centerpiece of his campaign.

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“We are safe not despite the fact we are a city of immigrants and asylum seekers – we are safe because we are a city of immigrants and asylum seekers,” O’Rourke said in El Paso on Saturday.

O’Rourke, who announced his White House campaign on March 14, shot to national prominence last year in an unexpectedly close race against incumbent Texas Republican Senator Ted Cruz.

His Texas rallies will be watched via livestream at more than 1,000 locations across America, according to his campaign.

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More than a dozen contenders are fighting to become the Democratic Party’s candidate to take on Trump in 2020.

The O’Rourke campaign sent multiple requests to potential supporters for campaign donations before his rallies in El Paso, Houston and Austin on Saturday, a common practice among presidential hopefuls. The messages stressed the importance of donating before Sunday, the deadline for first quarter fundraising reports with the Federal Election Commission.

O’Rourke, 46, smashed fundraising records as a Senate candidate and raised $6.1 million in the first 24 hours of his presidential campaign, the largest first-day haul of any announced candidate this year.

However, he has struggled to see a strong campaign work ethic translate into a significant boost in early polling.

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O’Rourke trails former Vice President Joe Biden and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders by double digits, according to early polls among Democratic voters. Analysts warn that polls this early, before the first nominating votes are cast in Iowa in February 2020, are unreliable.

Biden has yet to join the race, although he is expected to announce his presidential candidacy soon.

Reporting by Tim Reid; Editing by Paul Tait and Richard Chang

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‘You cannot expect anything but fascism’: Pedagogy theorist on how Trump ‘legitimated a culture of lying, cruelty and a collapse of social responsibility’

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The impeachment of Donald Trump appears to be a crisis without a history, at least a history that illuminates, not just comparisons with other presidential impeachments, but a history that provides historical lessons regarding its relationship to a previous age of tyranny that ushered in horrors associated with a fascist politics in the 1930s.  In the age of Trump, history is now used to divert and elude the most serious questions to be raised about the impeachment crisis. The legacy of earlier presidential impeachments, which include Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton, provide a comparative historical context for analysis and criticism. And while Trump’s impeachment is often defined as a more serious constitutional crisis given his attempt to use the power of the presidency to advance his personal political agenda, it is a crisis that willfully ignores the conditions that gave rise to Trump’s presidency along with its recurring pattern of authoritarian behavior, policies, and practices.  One result is that the impeachment process with its abundance of political theater and insipid media coverage treats Trump’s crimes as the endpoint of an abuse of power and an illegal act, rather than as a political action that is symptomatic of a long legacy of conditions that have led to the United States’ slide into the abyss of authoritarianism.

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Trump is trying Middle East Peace plan 2.0 after the first one flopped

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"We will get this done," Trump claimed in May 2017.

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