Trump's use of the military backfired – but will it back him if he refuses to go?

The possibility is hardly far-fetched. As Trump’s former bagman Michael Cohen warned in congressional testimony in March 2019, “I fear that if he loses the election in 2020 there will never be a peaceful transition of power.” After winning in 2016, Trump claimed without evidence that 3-5m votes were illegally counted for Hillary Clinton.

A former chairman of joint chiefs of staff, Adm Mike Mullen, wrote recently that although he remains “confident in the professionalism of our men and women in uniform”, he is “deeply worried” they “will be co-opted for political purposes”.

If that happens, the mass protests against decades of harsh policing and unjust killings of Black Americans will be followed by another uprising, this time against Trump’s murder of American democracy.