Where The Hustings Is A Goat Hair Tent

It's election season in Jordan. I'm at the campaign headquarters of an incumbent member of parliament, in the northern city of Mafraq, near the Syrian border. Unlike campaign offices in the U.S., there are no bright balloons or bumper stickers here, no perky female assistants. There aren't even any speeches. Instead, sober-faced men wearing Arab headdresses sit shoulder to shoulder under a goat-hair tent, eating. The candidate mingles and listens to their concerns--jobs, high prices, health care. Long into the evening, the men drink cups of sweet tea and bitter coffee.

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