Kamala is going to walk up to Rodney Scott’s Whole Hog BBQ from the left. At 12:50 p.m., Rodney Scott will greet her. She’ll enter through the side door and order at the second register, from the woman in the red shirt. Kamala, Scott, and Maya Harris—that’s Kamala’s sister and campaign chair—will sit and eat. Kamala will then exit through the front door and walk around back to look at the smoker. She’ll reenter through the front, cross the dining room, and exit through the side door to take reporters’ questions.
Rodney Scott’s Whole Hog, on the corner of King and Grove Streets in Charleston, South Carolina, is perfect—the kind of fast-casual, deeply American spot almost any voter can get behind: local pit master anointed by Anthony Bourdain, outdoor seating under tasteful white Christmas lights, wooden tables with wrought-iron legs, red stools. In the hour leading up to Kamala’s arrival, men walking and biking slowly down Grove Street give way to police cars, followed by unmarked cars. At T minus 10, the campaign’s 23-year-old South Carolina communications director, Jerusalem Demsas, asks, “Can we get Rodney out here?” She places Scott, handsome and regionally beloved, on his mark to the left of the door. After Demsas leaves, Scott mutters, “People with warrants must be running off the block.”
It’s all happening before you can even see her, so thick and aggressive is the press: the 20-plus reporters with TV cameras, boom mics, lenses larger than some dogs. Kamala shakes Scott’s hand; touches his arm; smiles her big, open, I-am-so-happy-to-be-with-you-right-now smile. She’s shorter, even in heels, than one expects. But she’s magnetic, authoritative, warm—leaning in, nodding, gesturing with both hands, moving those hands from a voter’s biceps or shoulder to a position of deep appreciation over her heart.