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US Election 2016: Americans are just like UK - afraid

By Ann W Schmidt

Whenever the topic of the American presidential election comes up, I just want to curl up under a rock.

Being an American in Belfast for the past few months has meant that almost every cab I get into or every phone call I make, when people hear my accent and confirm that I am in fact American, they "just have to ask" about what's going on.

>>Live US Election results  - interactive coast-to-coast map of every count<<

Somehow, it's my responsibility to answer for the rest of the 300 million American people, from the tiny rural towns of Tennessee to the diverse and dense population of New York City. And no one actually presses me for any answers, so I just use my well-practiced sigh, shake my head and say: "It's a mess."

Then they proceed to tell me what they think. I sometimes wonder if asking me is just a courtesy so that they can chuckle and tell me how messed up they think it is. And sure, it's really funny to laugh about the election from the comfort of Northern Ireland, but I'm actually really tired of talking about the stupid thing. As, I'm sure, are most Americans.

For example, my dad, who loves politics, is refusing to watch the election tonight and instead is going to see a movie with my mom in Tennessee.

And this is the man who raised me to love politics so much that when I was six, someone asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up and I said the first female president (that's at risk now, but I changed my mind to a journalist many years ago).

The truth is, what has made the US election so "messed up" isn't very different from the reason the UK is leaving the EU. People are afraid, both in the US and here. Even though Americans seem crazy, we're not so different from you.

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