The undercover senator: Tim Scott goes anecdote-shopping in South Carolina

“So many people out on the street know they can make more money out there, that’s what’s on their minds,” Copeland says. “That’s why I did five years. Crack.”

The volunteer, a 48-year-old man, also black, nods as he deposits a deflated football into the for-sale bin. “My cousin did seven in federal,” he tells Copeland. “Man, one of my best friends in high school, he had all the money. He had a Mercedes. He did real well with drugs. Unfortunately, sooner or later, everybody seems to get caught.”

As they talk, an older white woman wanders over and asks, “You here for court-ordered time?”

“Not this time,” the volunteer says. What he neglects to mention is that his name is Tim Scott, that he’s a U.S. senator — her senator — and that he’s running for election in the fall.