Chris and Kimarie Nickels, shown with their rescue dog Ripley, at their home in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina.
All photos by T.J. Kirkpatrick
MOUNT PLEASANT, South Carolina — Chris and Kimarie Nickels live in a modern loft with a view of shipping barges in this affluent1 suburb of Charleston, where 91 percent of the population is non-Hispanic white. He is an attorney and former city councilman; she is a nurse. One of the anchors of their personal, family and community life is faith — specifically their evangelical Christianity and their membership in Seacoast, a megachurch that looks more like a college campus, with a multiracial congregation and a dynamic rock- and country-music-inspired choir.
In February, in an interview on the day they voted in the state’s Republican primary, both made an emphatic point of saying they had refused to vote for Donald Trump.
“If you are an evangelical and a believer and not just someone who stops by on Easter and Christmas,” said Chris, “I don’t see how you could even consider Donald Trump.” He voted for Marco Rubio. Kimarie voted for Ted Cruz because she believed he was the best chance to “stop a certain crazy train.”
But Trump easily won the South Carolina primary, and exit polls showed that among born-again or evangelical Christians, he beat the second-place candidate, Cruz, by 6 percentage points, a pattern that held true in much of the United States. Since then, his popularity among white evangelical Republicans has grown significantly, and now the group is one of his strongest bases of support. According to a June survey by the Pew Research Center, 94 percent of them would vote for Trump over Clinton in November.
Late last …