It is almost a commonplace to say that Minas is the electoral synthesis of Brazil. Second largest electoral college in the country, at first glance it seems ironic to say that the nation mostly spread out along the coast is represented by a landlocked state. However, as a water tank in the country and combining headwaters of 17 hydrographic basins, Minas, with its demographic and economic factors that many believe to be mixed in the state, has a certain pattern of separation by river waters.
The Geography of the Vote tool, a partnership between the Estadão and the Geocracy agency, indicates that this hydrographic logic brings a prevalence of the right in the basins of the Paranaíba, Grande, Doce and São Francisco river basins, the latter due to the greater Belo Horizonte. The left would prevail in the others, and the Paraíba do Sul basin, where Juiz de Fora is located, would be an area with no clear prevalence.
This phenomenon occurred in at least two situations in the 2018 elections, with results very close in space. In the first round for governor, the then-surprise Romeu Zema won over Fernando Pimentel, who would not even go to the second round, a vacancy occupied by Antonio Anastasia.
Romeu Zema’s vote in the first round of the Minas Gerais government election in 2018
A similar scenario occurred in the presidential election, but with a small expansion of votes from the left, mainly in the extreme west of the Triângulo Mineiro and in some municipalities along the three river basins where the right predominates.
Voting by Jair Bolsonaro (blue) and Fernando Haddad in Minas in the second round of the 2018 presidential election
When experts say that Minas will decide the national elections, it means, in practice, that we realize what the characteristics of these two opposing electoral masses will be. Whether the majority votes of the Paranaíba, Grande, Doce basins and the headwaters of the São Francisco river will prevail over the others or the opposite. It is not exactly a transposition of waters, but of votes, between hydrographic basins that, according to experts, will define this year’s elections.
The waters of Minas, which have always created cities and cured diseases, may have a new attribute: defining elections.