Adam Willis at The Boston Globe:
HOW HAS A foul-mouthed, womanizing, Biblically illiterate populist earned the broad democratic endorsement of socially conservative, Christian voters? It’s a question that has prompted much liberal hand-wringing in the United States, but it has found an even more extreme manifestation in the overwhelmingly Catholic Philippines.
In May 2016, months before Donald Trump claimed the White House, the Philippines voted Rodrigo Duterte to that country’s presidency. A crass, fire-breathing strongman with a shadowy history of violence in the southern city of Davao, where he earned the nickname “the Death Squad Mayor,” Duterte won a landslide plurality on fantastical campaign promises to clear Metro Manila traffic — some of the worst in the world — in 100 days, to weed out corruption at its roots, and, in his banner program, to scrub the country of crime and poverty through an unforgiving war on drugs.