A Homeric catalog, in numbered lists, of all the wrongs the current occupant of the White House has done unto the republic.
“Not a single A-list celebrity is willing to perform at Trump’s inauguration (at which he tweeted his anger).” So enumerates former Wall Street executive and now nonprofit CEO Siskind. Acting on a suggestion from writer Sarah Kendzior, who provides the foreword, Siskind began writing down “the specific things they never would have believed, things that they never would have done, before the regime came into power,” on the theory that the death of democracy comes with thousands of incremental cuts. Thousands of cuts indeed figure on “The List,” an exacting catalog of kleptocratic maneuvers, exercises in alternative fact, and the shock and awe of executive orders meant to undo everything the preceding administration accomplished. Some of that catalog is a running constant: Meetings on the part of Trumpian officials with various Russian entities figure from the very start, and, as Siskind presciently writes in her “overwhelming” 18-point list of Week 2 alone, “Russian propaganda was the source of much of the ‘fake news’ during the campaign.” The list also includes things in the larger culture, such as the fact that by Week 12, George Orwell’s 1984 was riding the Amazon bestseller list, and by Week 15, emboldened neofascists were vandalizing Jewish cemeteries. Some of Siskind’s reckoning reads as if from ancient history: the firing of former FBI director James Comey, for instance. But much of it remains fresh. By Week 10 and its head-exploding 41 items, Paul Manafort is under suspicion of campaign-finance crimes, while as early as Week 2, daughter Ivanka is insisting on a role as an emissary to heads of state and other foreign dignitaries, even as West Wing denizen Kellyanne Conway is busily violating the Hatch Act from the comfort of the Oval Office couch.
An astonishing roster, documenting history as it is being made and democracy as it is being unmade.