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The Danes have the perfect word to describe how Americans are feeling right now

Boy hides behind US flag.
Reuters/Mike Segar
The midterm elections are almost upon us and we're exhausted.
  • Ephrat Livni
By Ephrat Livni

Senior reporter, law & politics, DC.

Published This article is more than 2 years old.

As the US midterm elections near, a lot of Americans are feeling exhausted and disgusted by politics right now. But it’s hardly a unique feeling. Around the world, people find leaders and the machinations of the state troublesome and tiring. The Danes have even coined a special word for this particular irritant.

The Danish convey their dismay with governance and those who choose to do it for a living with the word politikerlede. According to Justin Cremer, writing in The Local Denmark, it’s used as follows: If someone asks if you watched the State of the Union, you might respond, “No, I want nothing to do with it. I’ve got serious politikerlede.”

A lot of Americans seem to have politikerlede right now. A new study of 8,000 Americans from the UK-based international research nonprofit More in Common found that 67% of the people they surveyed are in an “exhausted majority.” Only 6% of citizens identified themselves as being far-right and approved of ideas espoused by devoted conservatives. Similarly, only 8% were on the far-left and identified with the ideology of progressive activists.

Those on either extreme of the political spectrum much more commonly considered politics a “hobby.” But whether or not you want to follow US political news closely, it’s hard to avoid during election season, and this leaves voters emotionally drained.

For those who are already over midterms news, here’s another useful Danish word: uoverskuelig, a popular term that captures the feeling of being utterly overwhelmed. ”If a Dane isn’t up to coping with a particular challenge, they will call it ‘uoverskuelig,'” Cremer writes. Danes might say to one another, “I feel like staying in bed all day. My life is completely uoverskuelig.”

But if you feel the culture is “completely uoverskuelig” and you have “serious politikerlede,” don’t despair. Election Day is on Nov. 6. So by Nov. 5, you can already be looking forward to overmorgen”: “the day after tomorrow.”

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