Maybe some voters have always voted against rather than for things. But surely around the world there has never been such a time when electorates know what they don’t like rather than what they are for.
The feeling that all is not well and that “something needs to be done” is endemic in the West. It gave us Trump. It gives us Johnson. It might even have given us Le Pen or Corbyn. Note that for us to vote in such a way there has to be a candidate.
The rise in the electability of outsiders is partly a function of perceived political failure by traditional politicians. Hillary Clinton was as traditional establishment as they come and was punished for it. In the French presidential elections of 2017 and 2022 the traditional parties of Left and Right were annihilated. Macron was an outsider in 2017 and hardly mainstream in 2022.
The electoral system in France permitted in 2017 a man with little or no political background to be elected. In Britain that would be almost impossible. But in a binary choice plebiscite in 2016 the British electorate did air its dissatisfaction with the establishment as America was to do later that year and France the following one.
In 2019 the electorate in Britain felt empowered to go for the unconventional as they had in 2016 and almost had in 2017. “Leave” and its reworked message “Get Brexit Done” were votes against the political norms – the enemy was foreigners and the establishment. Easy targets not requiring cerebral logic.
One has to be very careful with Third Reich comparisons but National Socialism was built on being against the Weimar establishment parties as much (maybe more) than it was for Hitler’s policies. The Nazis enemies were the political establishment and those who were cerebral. The anti Woke movements of today are not dissimilar.