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Donald Trump gets no political obituary. He, and his legacy, aren’t done

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On that fateful day in June 2015 that he rode down a gilded escalator into the world of electoral politics, Donald Trump’s critics saw a pastel-faced buffoon destined to melt away after an attention-seeking stint in the political sun.

How wrong they were.

Trump will never truly go away. A closer-than-expected election makes it only that much clearer that defeat is but a prelude to Trump’s next act as a permanent fixture on the American political scene.

It’s not just that his thirst for the stage has allies predicting that he’ll run again in 2024, and that in the meantime, he’ll keep doing rallies and act as the leader of the opposition.

It’s that Trump has already left an indelible mark on the nation he leads, revealing several truths about it in the process.

 

 

Voters gathered in cities across the United States to celebrate and decry the election of Joe Biden as president. 4:43

The elements of Trumpism

There have been countless newspaper columns, books and academic studies asking what drove Trumpism: Was it economics? Was it racism? A new nationalism? Nostalgia? The joy of an unpredictable carnival?

It was all of the above.

If several years of talking to his supporters has illustrated anything, it’s that human beings can hold multiple overlapping feelings at once.

Take Chip Paquette, for instance.

 

In the five years since he rolled down the escalator at Trump Tower on June 16, 2015, to announce his presidential bid, Trump transformed U.S. politics. (Brendan McDermid/Reuters)

 

Early on in the Trump phenomenon, at a 2016 primary rally in New Hampshire, the retired police officer chuckled at the candidate’s antics, elbowing his seat neighbour as if at a comedy show. He howled with laughter when Trump referred to Sen. Ted Cruz as a “pussy.”

In a conversation with a reporter later, he said he missed the good old days — back when a cop could punch a suspect, without controversy.

He questioned the wisdom of free trade and expressed a desire for more tariffs on imports: “We’re losing jobs,” he said.

Then, finally, he casually brought up something else he liked about Trump: “I like the idea of him banning the Muslims.”

The Trump campaign’s proposed Muslim ban evolved after he took office, becoming a travel ban on mostly Muslim countries. It underwent other iterations, amid legal disputes, and triggered protests from people disgusted that this campaign promise ever saw the light of day in a country with religious freedom stamped into its founding DNA.

Trump smashed enough norms that he’ll be studied by future generations in political-science departments around the world.

 

Trump drew massive crowds to rallies. And he kept doing it during a pandemic, as here on Oct. 31 in Butler, Penn. (Carlos Barria/Reuters)

 

He also revealed things about the modern-day U.S. — and some of those lessons hold implications far beyond American territory, touching every nation.

The first is that the U.S. will be a less-predictable partner.

Trump’s policy legacy stretches far beyond U.S.

There’s no guarantee agreements with one U.S. administration will survive a change in government. That unpredictability stretches beyond Trump to past examples such as Bill Clinton’s signing of the Kyoto climate accord and George W. Bush shunning it.

Trump announced in the middle of a global pandemic that the U.S. would leave the World Health Organization, stalled the World Trade Organization, questioned the point of NATO, abandoned the Iran nuclear deal and reversed a diplomatic thaw with Cuba.

“This egg can’t be unscrambled,” wrote Trump critic and Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman last month in a New York Times column titled “Trump Killed the Pax Americana.”

“No matter how good a global citizen America becomes in the next few years, everyone will remember that we’re a country that elected someone like Donald Trump, and could do it again.”

 

Trump’s tougher attitude to international issues caused tensions with allies but also led to the renegotiation of NAFTA in 2018. (Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press)

 

Trump turned the page on a chapter of American history written after the Second World War, in which a young superpower helped build new global institutions in the hope of creating a long-lasting peace.

It’s unclear what the postscript to the postwar era would look like.

Trump did shift attention to a new geopolitical challenge: China. His administration struck a more aggressive posture, and accused China of breaking its promises to the West.

There’s a huge audience for this message.

Passionate devotion equals continuing power

One Republican operative said whether or not he runs for president again, Trump’s policies on China, trade and immigration will have a lingering effect.

“We don’t know what Trump’s role in the party is going to be going forward, [and] is he going to be keeping open the option of perhaps running again in 2024,” said Matt Mackowiak, a party organizer and consultant.

“I do think he’s changed the party in significant ways.”

Trump’s message not only drew record turnout from working-class white Americans, but he also made inroads in his second race among groups that rarely vote Republican.

Trump performed better with Black men, Latino and Asian-American voters this year than he did four years ago.

To be clear, he still won only a small percentage of minority voters. But some were among his staunchest defenders.

Sylvia Menchaca, a Mexican restaurant owner near Phoenix, applauded Trump for putting his country first and wanting immigration limits.

 

Business owner Sylvia Menchaca, seen here working in her Arizona restaurant, is a huge Trump fan. And she thinks the polls will soon look foolish — again. (CBC News)

 

She told CBC News she felt sorry for migrant children separated from parents at the border, but, she said, the country needed to get immigration under control.

“I love him,” said Menchaca, who described herself as a religious woman. “Trump is similar to one of the kings in the Bible. Nobody in the Bible is perfect.… But some of them were blessed by God to run a country.”

Nothing would ever rattle her support for him, she said.

 

 

In spite of widespread projections for a Joe Biden win, Donald Trump supporters at a pre-planned gathering site in Phoenix, Ariz., Saturday insisted Biden is not the next president and repeated Trump’s unproven allegations of voter fraud. 2:12

Trump sounded real — even when he was lying

One reason Trump engendered uncommon devotion was he didn’t sound like a politician — he sounded real while other politicians relied on scripts and talking points.

Yet his telling-it-like-it-is effect was chronically undermined by one uncomfortable truth: He lied. He lied a lot.

This is different from most politicians who will often exaggerate, and frequently obfuscate, while generally avoiding flat-out lies.

Trump operated on another level.

When it came to spouting untruths, he pivoted from one to another with the same painless strokes reminiscent of his supporter, Bobby Orr, gliding across a hockey rink.

 

President Donald Trump walks away after speaking at the White House, Thursday, Nov. 5. (Evan Vucci/Associated Press)

 

Half the country fumed; the other half brushed it off.

He left Americans split on an uncommon range of issues: COVID-19 mask-wearing; Black Lives Matter; voting by mail. They all became litmus tests of political loyalty.

You were with him or against him, right down to the end, when the polarizing question became whether or not you would support his attack on the accuracy of a U.S. election.

 

Pro-Trump and anti-Trump protesters are gathering and, at times, jeering each other on an Atlanta street in the open-carry state amid projections for a Joe Biden presidency from major networks. 5:41

The polarizer-in-chief

These constant battles divided families, and it’s no exaggeration to say he even had a polarizing effect on mating rituals. Trump fans, and people abhorred by Trump fans, split off into separate dating sites, with names such as Donald Daters and Trump Singles.

One Florida widow said people just simply want to know, before investing time in someone, whether their values are compatible, and she sees Trump support as a test of values.

She was no fan. She said Trump has stoked the country’s divisions and made people angrier, and she didn’t vote for him despite being a Republican.

“Politics used to be a part of your life, but it didn’t consume your life,” said Arlene Macellaro. “But now it seems like the thing to do in my Republican Party is to be angry.”

People in her Florida retirement community tell stories you often hear in the U.S. these days — of old friendships suspended over differences on Trump.

 

 

Arlene Macellaro lives in a staunchly Republican retirement city in Florida called The Villages, but says she won’t be voting for Donald Trump this election. 0:31

One final and perhaps most fundamental truth the Trump era exposed is that democracy may be more fragile than assumed  — that the rules protecting it may exist primarily on paper but are, in the end, enforced by a civic spirit.

In a bitterly polarized era pitting the blue team versus the red team, old norms were occasionally discarded.

Trump called elections stolen, called for opponents’ arrest, pardoned friends, used federal regulators to punish unfriendly media and ignored the constitutional rules for how to appoint cabinet members.

 

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump said Thursday that Democrats could ‘try to steal the election from us’ if ‘illegal votes’ cast after election day were counted. There is no evidence that ballots were cast after Nov. 3. 0:40

Ask a foreign government to investigate Joe Biden? It’s what got him impeached. And there were no real-time consequences.

He lost precisely one Republican in the impeachment vote: Mitt Romney, and for that act of alleged betrayal, the former Republican presidential nominee was quickly shunned by party grassroots members.

Trump became the first impeached president to lead his party into another election.

 

From boosting manufacturing in the United States to building a border wall, Donald Trump made a lot of promises during his first presidential campaign. CBC News’s Paul Hunter checks in on whether he delivered on them. 6:00

He talks, Republicans follow

And had a few votes broken the other way in a few swing states, had he gotten better control over the coronavirus pandemic, he might have won.

Instead, he’ll be gone from the White House in 11 weeks. It’s unclear he’ll ever concede he lost, or ever follow the tradition of extending grace to his successor.

His niece, a psychologist, author and now a critic of him, wrote a book suggesting he has a pathologically delicate ego and lives in terror of not being admired.

He enjoyed the granite-hard support of the conservative base.

 

It was illustrated by what happened last week when his son, Don Jr., issued a warning to Republicans: if they had any future aspirations to lead the party, they had better start fighting the election result.

A virtual stampede ensued.

Possible members of the 2024 field, Nikki Haley, Tom Cotton, Josh Hawley, Ted Cruz and others started complaining about the process.

 

 

Sen. Lindsey Graham went on Fox News and promised to donate $500,000 US to the president’s legal fund for fighting the result.

No matter what the president does next, he’ll remain a kingmaker in the Republican Party, and those party members will keep courting his support.

If, however, he chooses to run again in a primary four years from now, he’d probably beat them — barring some unforeseen twist, such as legal troubles in New York, his former home state.

So there are no political obituaries this weekend, not even for an election loser. Because you can’t eulogize what’s not dead.

President-elect Joe Biden spoke directly to Americans who didn’t vote for him during his victory address in Wilmington, Del., saying it’s ‘time to listen to each other again’ and to stop treating opponents like enemies. 1:42

Source: – CBC.ca

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America's Covid politics, historical revisionism and why Cold War conformity isn't the answer – NBC News

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Americans are losing their jobs, getting sick and dying because of inaction by the federal government and by their governors and because of resistance — sometimes violent resistance — to the few public health measures that are in effect.

How did we end up with a new member of Congress, Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia, who used her first moments in Washington to criticize masks? Why has the federal government given up on a national response to the Covid-19 pandemic? Why are people threatening violence against governors who propose even modestly restrictive public health measures?

Why are we being so reckless about something so important?

The short answer is that public health has become politicized, and political conflict makes us stupid.

The short answer is that public health has become politicized, and political conflict makes us stupid. Most people know almost nothing about public policy, and when we make political arguments, we reason in ways that would be embarrassing in other contexts. Being smart offers little protection, and it can even make us more vulnerable to distorted political reasoning.

In 2013, Yale researcher Dan Kahan worried that politics could quickly pollute the science communication environment about vaccines. Even though beliefs about vaccine science and immunization policy were not then strongly associated with political identities, he was concerned that this could change quickly. Something similar had happened before: In the 1990s, beliefs about climate change were not significantly politically polarized; that consensus evaporated in the first decade of the 2000s.

In 2020, it has become clear that Kahan was right to be worried. Americans’ willingness to accept vaccines and their feelings about vaccine laws are increasingly split along party lines. The same is true for views about Covid-19 lockdowns, mask mandates and social distancing. The new Covid-19 vaccine could be political dynamite.

Dec. 3, 202004:38

A common explanation for some people’s resistance to public health measures is that previous generations were more virtuous than we are. You might point to the example of the school-age Polio Pioneers who participated in vaccine testing and to Jonas Salk’s (supposedly) altruistic refusal to patent the polio vaccine.

But it is a self-congratulatory fiction to attribute the public health compliance of earlier generations to a now-lost commitment to fairness and solidarity. A truer story would focus on the fact that earlier Americans had more in common and were more obedient to authority figures.

Consider that, until the 1970s and the 1980s, patients rarely provided informed consent to medical procedures. While the medical abuses of the Holocaust illustrated that patients and research subjects should have the right to make their own decisions, American doctors largely rejected the 1947 Nuremberg Code’s call for informed consent and continued to practice more paternalistic medicine — they would continue to treat patients over their objections or otherwise disregard patient preferences — until the law forced their hand.

America also used to be a more collectivist place, at least in much of the post-World War II era. Most people were bound by a shared civil religion of patriotism (including a Cold War hatred of communism), and their private religious beliefs were more often connected to churches that occupied centrist positions in political life. Among white Americans, there was greater economic equality, more optimism about improving standards of living and greater trust in social institutions (including government, medicine and science). Racism and, more importantly, the influence of white supremacy — in education, housing and the workplace, among other things — shaped a shared experience for white Americans and imposed a similarly common oppressive way of life on nonwhite Americans.

Cold War conformity and Jim Crow terrorism are not good models for contemporary social cooperation. We applaud the accomplishments of the civil rights and patients’ rights movements. We are glad to live in more pluralistic and diverse communities.

However, the loss of common identities and shared political aspirations has led directly to rising levels of political polarization around policies that used to be less controversial.

Common enemies often generate a sense of shared purpose. Perhaps the Covid-19 pandemic will become so severe that our mutual vulnerability will cultivate recommitment to public health measures. For example, some Republican governors have recently reversed themselves and embraced mask mandates. But even if this trend continues, it is not likely to be a stable basis for an ongoing public health consensus after the pandemic.

It seems more likely that opposition to a foreign enemy — say, China — could cultivate longer-lasting common political commitments in a diverse America. Political leaders of both parties support America’s imperial projects, and most citizens seem open to bipartisanship in the name of resisting (supposed) existential threats to the country. This kind of shared political identity could be more stable, but only if the struggle lasted a long time and only if it did not result in catastrophic wars. But this is a dangerous and unethical basis for political consensus.

We hope, instead, that Democrats and Republicans can find common cause in conceptions of freedom that express our shared values. We all ought to be free from restrictions on what we say and believe, and we have good reasons to protect valued spheres of civic life from the corrupting influence of politics and the unwelcome oversight of government. We all also ought to be free to live in healthy and peaceful communities, participate in well-functioning economic systems and have access to targeted social welfare programs. Whether America can re-create stable public health governance depends on whether Americans can promote these kinds of freedoms in our ongoing work of living together.

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All Santa Wants for Christmas Is to Stay Out of Politics – The New York Times

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All Santa Wants for Christmas Is to Stay Out of Politics

After a brush with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, professional Santa Clauses are just trying to get through this holiday season safely.

Credit…Julien Sage for The New York Times
  • Dec. 4, 2020, 5:00 a.m. ET

Ric Erwin is one of thousands of men for whom Santa Claus is both a sacred idea and a seasonal occupation. Earlier this year, he was looking forward to donning his red velvet suit and hat this December, just as he has each winter for the last decade.

But the pandemic has thrown a wrench in the usual Christmas shows and shopping mall photo ops. And Mr. Erwin, 62, who is the chairman of the board of the Fraternal Order of Real Bearded Santas — a national association for men who grow and maintain their own beards to play Santa Claus at holiday events — has found himself advocating for 500 professionals to safely support their work while virus cases are surging.

In September, Mr. Erwin, who lives in Hemet, Calif., testified virtually before the Centers for Disease Control’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices. He noted that the production and distribution of an H1N1 vaccine in 2009 allowed Santa Claus performers to save Christmas that year. He hoped the C.D.C. could similarly expedite a vaccine in time for this holiday season.

After his testimony, Mr. Erwin received several phone calls, voicemails and emails from Michael R. Caputo, the assistant secretary for public affairs at the Department of Health and Human Services, who hoped to broker a deal with the Santas. Mr. Erwin recalled Mr. Caputo telling him that the White House was interested in having Santas participate in a 35-city rollout campaign for Operation Warp Speed, the federal effort to develop a coronavirus vaccine. In exchange, he promised the Santas access to a vaccine by mid-October.

A Santa meet-and-greet at Bass Pro Shops in Bridgeport, Conn.
Credit…Seth Wenig/Associated Press

“That sounded like a great deal to us,” Mr. Erwin said. “Within 24 hours we had over 100 volunteers. The response was overwhelming.”

Mr. Caputo told Mr. Erwin he couldn’t wait to tell President Trump that the Santas were onboard with the plan. Then, Mr. Erwin said, Mr. Caputo, the C.D.C. and the H.H.S. ghosted him.

Mr. Erwin realized Mr. Caputo was never going to call him back when The Wall Street Journal published an article in late October stating that the campaign, which was meant to include not only Santa players but also celebrities, had been scrapped. (In a statement to The New York Times, an H.H.S. spokeswoman reiterated: “This collaboration will not be happening.”)

“We saw the handwriting on the wall and we knew there was not going to be a collaboration at that point, so if we were going to save Christmas this year it was just going to be the Clauses,” Mr. Erwin said.

In addition to stoking some false hope, his negotiations with the federal government drew attention to the myriad societies Santa Claus performers belong to today (though the word “performers” is scorned by those who take a method approach to the role). There are regional groups (like the Lone Star Santas and the New England Santa Society), as well as national and international ones.

For the most part, these organizations try to stay out of politics, activism and other kinds of campaigning. So some Santas were annoyed.

Credit…Houston Cofield for The New York Times
Credit…Julien Sage for The New York Times

“First of all, Santa lives in the North Pole — he doesn’t live in the United States,” said Stephen Arnold, 70, a Memphis resident and president of the International Brotherhood of Real Bearded Santas (I.B.R.B.S.), a trade group with more than 2,000 members. “He might have an interest in seeing that the United States is a calm and safe place for him to visit and deliver Christmas presents, but as a Santa Claus, you shouldn’t have a political posture.”

Mr. Arnold added that his understanding was that only four or five people would end up eligible for an early shot of the vaccine according to the offer Mr. Caputo made to Mr. Erwin.

To be fair, Mr. Arnold and Mr. Erwin have some history. The Fraternal Order of Real Bearded Santas (F.O.R.B.S.) emerged out of the dissolution more than a decade ago of the Amalgamated Order of Real Bearded Santas (A.O.R.B.S.), which was wrapped in scandal at the time. (“If you Google ‘Santa Wars,’ you’ll find articles on it,” Mr. Arnold said.) Today, F.O.R.B.S. is much smaller than I.B.R.B.S., which also includes Mrs. Clauses, and there are members of each group who will not forget the Santa tension of years past.

Personal matters aside, Mr. Arnold said his resistance to take part in the government campaign revolved largely around a desire to remain apolitical.

“Most of our members were reluctant to consider being first in line because they felt that the whole thing on vaccines was being politically manipulated,” he said. “We work very hard on not being political. We do not allow any political posts or anything on our Facebook group pages.”

“If somebody posts something that’s even slightly interpreted as a political statement, it’s gone instantly,” he continued. “It’s just deleted.”

Should a member like to make a statement out-of-character, that’s fine, Mr. Arnold said. “We encourage all of our Santas who want to make political posts to create a separate page where they don’t wear any red, and don’t indicate they’re Santa Claus or have Santa in their names,” he said.

Credit…Stephen Maturen/Getty Images

At this point, according to C.D.C. recommendations, Santa players shouldn’t expect to be vaccinated before Christmas. So, what does that mean for this holiday season?

“Generally speaking, within the Santa community, we are being as cautious as possible,” Mr. Arnold said. “There’s a small contingency of people who have laughed it off and said ‘I’m going to go on normally, I won’t be performing with a mask.’” Most members of Santa organizations, however, are considered high-risk coronavirus candidates: They are retirees in their 70s and 80s and many have underlying health conditions, Mr. Erwin said.

“There isn’t a group of people that are more compromised than the Christmas Committee,” Mr. Arnold said. “A lot of us are old and have diabetes. Most of us have a heart problem, most of us are obese. We check every box.”

While many Santa-related innovations have come out of 2020 — holiday-themed masks, plexiglass and acrylic walls that can be made to look invisible in photos, video calls, drive-through greetings — Mr. Erwin is most enticed by the idea of placing Santa in a vinyl dome.

The dome provides physical separation, but it can also be explained with a clever story for the children to understand, Mr. Erwin said.

“If parents don’t want to explain virus transmission, they can say Santa got trapped in a snow globe by an elf magician and you have to come visit him at the globe,” he said.

But Mr. Erwin won’t be scheduling any in-person visits this year. His father-in-law suffered a stroke in April and was hospitalized for 30 days before he died; none of his family members were able to visit because of the pandemic. Mr. Erwin told his wife and his mother-in-law, who makes Santa costumes and goes by Mother Claus, that he would not take any chances with the virus.

“I don’t even care about giving up my season,” Mr. Erwin said. “I’m thinking about the 150,000 plus people that did not have to die.” He blames the rising toll on the current administration and plans to deliver fitting gifts to its members this Christmas.

“As a Santa, I am neutral and love everybody, but as a citizen I have to say something,” Mr. Erwin said, adding that he would not be giving politicians coal. “They are getting dryer lint, at best.”

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Can Rajinikanth’s entry into politics diminish the hold of Dravidian parties in Tamil Nadu? – Yahoo Canada Sports

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CBC

How France became a pipeline for Canadian women’s basketball talent

It all began with Lizanne Murphy. The Montrealer was pondering her basketball future in the wake of the 2012 London Olympics. In the years prior, she’d bounced around pro leagues in Eastern Europe and suffered a major knee injury that wasn’t managed properly, perhaps due to language barriers. On the brink of retirement, Murphy, fluent in English and French, was urged by her agent to consider playing in France. She would be the only Canadian woman in the league, and had played 12 French league games the previous season. “I signed a contract to play in Aix-en-Provence, which is like the beach on the Mediterranean Sea. It was incredible. … And then I just said to all my teammates, like, ‘Guys, you have to come here. This is amazing,” Murphy said. For Murphy, the beach location was a big draw — if your basketball career is going to come to an end away from the rest of your national team, there might as well be good weather. But she wasn’t alone for long. Murphy’s team needed a point guard, so she called up Hamilton, Ont., native Shona Thorburn, who quickly joined the coastal squad. The two soon learned why the French league now doubles as a Canadian pipeline: intense competition, smart coaching and high-IQ players, guaranteed contracts and French language and culture. Team Canada veteran Kim Gaucher joined Murphy and Thorburn in France soon after, with Gaucher crediting Murphy as a trailblazer for Canadians in the country. “We worked really hard because Canadians work really hard. So all of a sudden Canadian players had this amazing reputation and then every time they recruited more Canadians. The next year there was like two more Canadians and then they played really well,” Murphy said. “So this is like this untapped talent in France that were great teammates, great people, and really the best players in the league.” Today, 14 Canadians play across three leagues in France, including five in the top Ligue Féminine de Basketball. Team-oriented basketball The steady increase over the last decade isn’t just a sign of Canadians wanting to play together, either. In France, just two non-European and two non-French European players are permitted per team. Bridget Carleton, a playoff starter for the WNBA’s Minnesota Lynx, recently began her first season in France. She said it was her top option after choosing not to return to Australia for her second overseas campaign. “I was mostly drawn to France just because of the history that Canadians have in this league, in the country. And obviously, talking with my national team teammates Kim, Murph, Shona, Nayo [Raincock-Ekunwe]. … They’ve been here for so long, they’ve continued careers here, played here for multiple years, so it shows how much they do appreciate it and enjoy it here,” Carleton said. The 24-year-old now starts for Landerneau Bretagne, where she’s earning more responsibility on the court than she had as a fifth option, at best, for the Lynx. The collection of talent in France comes with more legitimate basketball than you might see in other European leagues. Coaches instill structured on-court systems that mimic international play. In the past, it would be similar to Canada’s disciplined style of play; now, Canada prefers run-and-gun transition basketball. Still, both systems demand quick, smart decision-making from players.  “Canadians are really talented offensive players, really talented individual players, but are also great teammates. And you don’t always see that with everyone and I think that’s why the French League, the French citizens love the Canadian players,” Murphy said. Canadians, like Carleton, are unlikely to dominate the ball and consistently lead their team in shot attempts. Guaranteed contracts But Gaucher said that style of play is sometimes the only way to survive outside of France in Europe. “There are some countries where if you’re an import, if you’re an American, if you don’t score 30 points a night — and that can be on 35 shots — they don’t really care. And then you’re going to get cut, whereas [in France] there’s a lot of movement, there’s a lot of screening. They want complete players.” It’s easier to prioritize team over individual when your contract is legitimately guaranteed. While “guarantee” language is the norm across Europe, it’s common for players not to be paid on time or at all, or cut at a moment’s notice outside of France. Gaucher, who plays for Ligue B Mondeville, says she was still paid after the league stopped due to the pandemic in March. To contrast, fellow Canadians Ruth Hamblin, Miah-Marie Langlois and Jamie Scott were told by their Russian club in March they’d be breaking contract if they went back to Canada — even after the prime minister mandated a return. Murphy also spent time in Argentina, Poland, Lithuania and Slovakia before France. “In North America, a contract really matters. But in Eastern Europe, your money is always late. Sometimes you’re not paid. It’s not always guaranteed. And that happened to me a lot. But in France, being a professional athlete is treated like a career, you have the same rights and respect in terms of the government protection as a teacher [or] a lawyer,” she said. Canadian camaraderie Beyond basketball and money, Canadian camaraderie was quickly established and grows with each additional national team player that arrives. Carleton got her first taste when she faced off against Canadians Michelle Plouffe and Raincock-Ekunwe, who play for Lyon, in November. Murphy, now retired, would spend the night with her fellow Canadians after travelling for a game before taking the train home the following day. There was even talk of holding a Canadian training camp in France last month before the pandemic scuttled potential plans. Murphy said she’s proud to have played her part in fostering Canadian talent and growing the game. Without a pro league at home, France has become the next best thing. And when the European season typically demands lots of lonely nights in foreign countries, it’s nice to know there’s a support system nearby. “It’s not the same desperation and overwhelmed fatigue [as it is outside of France]. You have a good balance there and you feel like you have a taste of home. … That family connection, I think, is almost the competitive advantage.”

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