Trump's loss dealt a blow to global populism. But the movement is still alive and kicking

US President Donald Trump, from left, with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan at the NATO summit in London on December 4, 2019.

(CNN)For four years, Donald Trump has been the world's standard-bearer for right-wing populism. The movement didn't begin with Trump, but the US President championed it in a way no other leader could, using the weight of the most powerful office on Earth to give it legitimacy.

His election loss naturally dealt a blow to populist leaders, particularly those who share Trump's autocratic streak. Many had used the President's anti-migration, xenophobic, sexist and anti-LGBTQ policies and rhetoric to justify their own. That cover has now gone.
But that doesn't necessarily mean the populist wave has crested -- not in the United States, nor the world at large.
    President-elect Joe Biden won the Electoral College vote fair and square, but he did so on the thinnest of margins in a handful of key states. Trump still garnered over 47% of the popular vote, more than 73 million ballots. The results were hardly a riposte to the President's divisive, populist leadership.
    If support for populism has eroded in the US, it has done so only marginally, and the same can be said for much of the world.
    The pandemic has done little to dampen global populism. Trump almost certainly paid a political price -- an election exit poll showed that the majority of voters (52%) considered containing the virus a more important issue than rebuilding the economy (42%). But he still won over nearly half the country's voters, despite his bungled response and more than 260,000 American deaths.