clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Vox Sentences: The Philippines tries to form an Axis of Deplorables

Vox Sentences is your daily digest for what's happening in the world, curated by Dara Lind and Dylan Matthews. Sign up for the Vox Sentences newsletter, delivered straight to your inbox Monday through Friday, or view the Vox Sentences archive for past editions.

Trump's late-season reality show twist isn't nearly as cute as he thinks it is; Rodrigo Duterte proposes a Russo-Sino-Filipino alliance.

Trump leaves America hanging

Trump and Clinton at the debate Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images
  • Donald Trump manufactured his own reality show cliffhanger during the final presidential debate Wednesday: He refused to promise he'd concede if he lost the election. "I'll keep you in suspense," he smirked. [Vox / Caroline Framke]
  • Then, because Trump is a master of the art of incremental escalation to make sure everyone's attention is glued to him, he said at a rally in Ohio on Thursday that he'd accept the results of the election "if I win." [CNN / Jeremy Diamond]
  • Some are defending these comments by pointing out that Al Gore didn't immediately concede to George W. Bush in 2000 (which is an odd argument because if Florida's vote review hadn't stopped when it did, Gore would have won). [NY Mag / Jonathan Chait]
  • But this argument misses the biggest problem with what Trump is saying — the signals he's sending to his followers that a Clinton presidency would be illegitimate and they might need to do whatever it takes to protect the republic. [Vox / Dara Lind]
  • Hillary Clinton won all three presidential debates. She basically spent four and a half hours of American campaign history telling Trump to stop hitting himself. [Vox / Ezra Klein]
  • By the last debate, the line between actual Hillary Clinton and Washington Post humorist Alexandra Petri's fake Hillary Clinton was genuinely a little blurry. [Washington Post / Alexandra Petri]
  • Clinton will, barring some major unforeseen development, win the election in November fair and square. She will win it on the strength of a diverse coalition of voters (to whom pundits haven't been paying much attention this year). [Vox / Matt Yglesias]
  • But even if Trump concedes peacefully, his campaign has etched deep scars into American society. A generation of children have been exposed to racist bullying or anxieties of deportation. Those scars won't heal for a long time. [Vox / Jenée Desmond-Harris]

Duterte cuts us off

Rodrigo Duterte Wu Hong/AFP/Getty Images
  • Rodrigo Duterte, president of the Philippines, dealt a big blow to the decades-long alliance between his country and the US on Thursday. At a summit in China, Duterte announced "my separation from the United States" — and said "there are three of us against the world — China, Philippines and Russia. It's the only way." [Reuters / Ben Blanchard]
  • Duterte's alliance with China is a huge reversal from the policy of his predecessor. Indeed, it comes with the news that Duterte is agreeing to drop the Philippines' arbitration claim against China in a dispute over rights in the South China Sea (instead hashing it out in bilateral talks, as China wanted). [WSJ / Chun Han Wong]
  • But it's probably supposed to be a slap in the face to Obama and the US, who've rebuked Duterte over his human rights violations. (When not adventuring abroad, Duterte is prosecuting a semi-extralegal, human rights–violating drug war in his home country.) [BBC]
  • Duterte could go further in pushing away the US: he could force the US to leave its military bases in the Philippines, or conduct "joint exercises" with China in the South China Sea. [Bloomberg / Andreo Calonzo and Nick Wadhams]
  • But his "us against the world" alliance might not be realistic enough to be durable. Russia and China, for one thing, don't have the coziest relationship. [Vox / Zack Beauchamp]
  • And Duterte appears to be a mercurial dude who changes his mind on a whim — even over the course of his China trip, he floated several different positions on the South China Sea dispute before surprising his own military officials by announcing the bilateral talks. [Time / Charlie Campbell]

Nintendo Switches it up

Nintendo Switch Nintendo
  • On Thursday, Nintendo unveiled its plans for the Nintendo Switch: a video game console that would work with a TV set (as a traditional console) or with a tablet (as a portable, mobile console). [Wired / Chris Kohler]
  • The technology for this has been around for a while. But previous consoles utilizing it didn't have any games worth playing (something Nintendo will presumably solve by expanding some of its most popular brands, includingZelda and Mario, into the Switch's new multi-device format). [Popular Mechanics / Eric Limer]
  • It's not clear whether Nintendo can pull this off. The WIi U, Nintendo's last console, also tried to bridge the gap between mobile and TV set consoles, and failed badly (though The Verge's Sam Byford argues persuasively it's learned from its mistakes). [The Verge / Sam Byford]
  • More importantly, the age of the gaming console may simply be over — killed by improvements in home computers and, especially, the rise of mobile gaming on phones. [Quartz / Mike Murphy]
  • But many game analysts and designers have long suspected that mobile and console games aren't two divergent genres but can complement each other because they use different skills. [Kernel Mag / Dennis Scimeca]
  • This could pose an opportunity for the Switch, but also a challenge: It challenges the idea that mobile gaming is for short bursts, while console gaming is for immersive adventures. [Vox / German Lopez]
  • Or maybe it'll unlock a whole new experience in how to play a video game — as the live-streaming service Twitch has enabled fans to create through long, stuttering, collaborative play-throughs. [Ars Technica / Kyle Orland]


  • The dominant celebrity in the world of perfume isn't Kim Kardashian. It's not Beyoncé. It's not Taylor Swift. It's Britney. [Racked / Priya Krishnva]
  • On a related note, Dylan did not know until today that "Britney Spears" is an anagram for "Presbyterians," and thought that would be a fun fact to share with you fine people. [Mental Floss / Jesse English]
  • Newspaper ad revenue is expected to decline by nearly 9 percent this year. That's the worst decline sice the start of the Great Recession. [WSJ / Suzanne Vranica and Jack Marshall]
  • Women exceed 35 percent of the state legislature in only three states (plus DC). In six, they make up less than 15 percent. [National Conference of State Legislatures]
  • Let us celebrate Kristen Stewart, the new queen of indie cinema. [A.V. Club / Jesse Hassenger]


  • "When it feels like someone has ripped out your intestines already, it's hard to get too worked up at the sight of some monster doing it to someone else." [Glamour / Meredith Clark]
  • "in the U.S., an average dancer's annual total income is just $35,000 — about half of which comes from non-dance activities. Even stars might not earn much more, or find themselves better equipped for life on the outside. After his body gave out in his late thirties, Edward Villella — a star at New York City Ballet in the 1950s and '60s, who had danced for four presidents—lived for a while on $5 a week." [Elle / Alice Robb]
  • "The video focuses on a hen that Direct Action rescued and named Ella. When the organization found her in the cage-free barn, she was struggling to pull herself up and had lost most of her feathers. Her back was covered in feces." [NYT / Stephanie Strom]
  • "[Open offices] are ideal for maximizing a company’s space while minimizing costs. Bosses love the ability to keep a closer eye on their employees, ensuring clandestine porn-watching, constant social media-browsing and unlimited personal cellphone use isn’t occupying billing hours. But employers are getting a false sense of improved productivity." [Washington Post / Lindsey Kaufman]
  • "I recently saw this home video where my brother is playing this character 'Arsenio Grimley,' who is a mix of Arsenio Hall and Ed Grimley — which, clearly, is my parents’ doing, because he’s, like, 10. He’s the host, I’m every guest and then my dad is Elton John. That was a Saturday night." [Abbi Jacobson to NYT / Dave Itzkoff]

Watch this: Hillary Clinton’s 3 debate performances left the Trump campaign in ruins

Donald Trump didn't just destroy himself in the presidential debates. Hillary Clinton destroyed him. [YouTube / Ezra Klein, Gina Barton, Christophe Haubursin, and Joe Posner]