Conservatives have taken hits in both national and state elections. Nationally, January dawns with a Democrat takeover of the House of Representatives. And here in Maine, we have a new Democrat-run government.

Outgoing Maine Gov. Paul LePage has accomplished in his two terms what others could only dream about. He put Maine in the black, paying off bills created by his Democrat predecessor. And now, Maine even has a surplus.

But of course incoming governor Janet Mills already has plans for the surplus, so much of LePage’s good work will be undone. I predict that within one year, Maine will be operating on a deficit, taxes will go up, special-interest groups will gain more influence on state lawmakers and new, as-yet unheard of, anti-gun legislation will infringe upon our Second Amendment rights.

In other words, things are going to get tough. If we conservatives think we have much to contend with now, just wait for January.

Cities win

The deciding votes here in Maine were cast by urban voters in the major cities; Portland, Lewiston, Waterville, Brunswick and Bangor among them. Add to that the liberal influence from coastal communities and it becomes clear that for any conservative candidate to prevail, he or she must garner votes from rural voters. And rural voters did not come out in droves, as hoped.

This city/rural difference is reflected nationally and to ensure that city dwellers did not control the nation, our founders established the Electoral College. With the Electoral College, votes are spread out among all states. So voters in, say, Nebraska, have as much influence as voters in Boston. This throws liberals into paroxysms of anguish.

But a move is already afoot to disband the Electoral College. The push is by Democrats and the reason is obvious. That is, with the rural vote being eviscerated, urban voters, mostly liberal, will control the nation.

Times have become dangerous for conservatives and that danger will continue to worsen. Even displaying Republican campaign signs can put a person in danger. Democrats will continue to confront conservatives in public places.

Religious people will become even more marginalized. The slightest hint of religiosity in public will signal attacks by atheist groups as well as House and Senate Democrats.

What we always thought was good is now deemed bad. The left will assault our morals, our religion and even our ethnicity. Who ever heard the term “white privilege” until just recently? Black people, too, who choose conservatism will be targeted and demeaned. It has happened already and will only get worse. No matter who you are, male or female, and no matter your race, if you are a conservative you are in liberal’s sights.

If you are a conservative male, it’s time you looked for some out-of-the-way place to ride out the storm. To the left, you are the enemy and every ill the country ever suffered will be pinned on you.

Even worse, if you are an older male, you are doubly damned. After all, it was your generation that set things in place. No matter that you and your ilk suffered and died on foreign battlefields, or that your generation strove to make America a beacon of hope to the world.

As per future elections, it looks as if ranked-choice voting will expand and if we don’t like it, that’s our problem. So if you wish to vote for your favored candidate but don’t care to list others by descending preference, your candidate will probably lose. Just ask Rep. Bruce Poliquin.

Ranked-choice voting errs in that it presumes voters have a list of candidates whom they favor, when in fact, most conservatives have only one candidate. So under ranked-choice voting, your candidate can lose to some unheard-of person for whom you did not vote, but some Democrat vote-counter assumed you would have chosen. It’s a complex and confusing way of nullifying the rural and conservative vote. And it is here to stay.

It seems likely that more and more conservatives will stop voting altogether because they feel their votes no longer count. And that is exactly what liberals want.

In summary

Sadly, there isn’t much in the way of hopeful news for conservatives. We are now the minority and we will be treated as such.

But don’t let that change your minds about what you know to be right. Stand firm in your beliefs, because that upon which you base your beliefs does not change. Further, for the God-fearing among you, remember that God’s word remains the same always. We change, we attempt to change words and intent of scripture. But the original intent still stands. So remain strong in the face of adversity. In the end, you will have your reward.

And now, I must close by thanking you, the readers, for the chance to represent the conservative voice for these past few years. It was an honor and I am grateful to have had the opportunity. I will miss all of you.

So be strong, don’t fear anything or anyone, and remember the words of Ronald Reagan: “There are no final victories and there are no final defeats.”

Tom Seymour is a freelance magazine and newspaper writer, book author, naturalist and forager who lives in Waldo. This is his final op-ed column for The Republican Journal. We're grateful to Tom for contributing his conservative perspective over the last several years.