Max Taylor's Making Ripples
Max Taylor is down to shake things up. Not only is he an internet celebrity, and a small-business owner, he's running for mayor during the municipal elections next month. When we sat down to chat (virtually), we covered his ‘big fish mentality,’ free-form approach to politics, and plan to address issues that high school students deal with everyday. Read on, and VOTE next month (if you can).
Aidan: Hi Max, thank you for doing this interview with the Trollope Times. Your campaign for mayor has been marked by a unique approach to politics that many Citadel students are curious about. How did your high school experience prepare you to potentially take on such a huge responsibility?
Max: I was lucky to have gone to Sacred Heart, which is a very small school. It gave me the experience of feeling like a big fish in a little pond. Once I was confident enough to be a ‘big fish’ in that sense, that confidence transferred over to many different skills. In particular, it taught me to talk to people one on one, which translates over to politics pretty well.
Aidan: This is a strange time to be in politics. How are you engaging the public in your campaign now, and how do you plan to continue to do so if elected mayor?
Max: Because of COVID, it's harder to do a lot of in-person interaction so I’m responding to a lot of dms online. I’m going to a lot of small businesses and talking to people, because as a small business owner myself, I know there are many ‘red tape issues,’ in Halifax.
This is a non-traditional campaign for a non-traditional time. I’m not going to follow the basic rules of, “hey, here’s my platform, if you like what you see, vote [for me].” That’s not the way the world works right now. New approaches are the only way we can change things, so I’m trying a bunch of new approaches to see what sticks.
Aidan: That connects well to my next question. You haven’t released a specific platform beyond ‘getting people out to vote,’ which makes you an unorthodox candidate. What do you feel that you offer HRM residents, and voting-age high school students, that other candidates don’t?
Max: I offer more of a young perspective. This may sound rude, but unlike a lot of people with careers in politics I have no ‘friends’ in politics whose rules I need to abide by. I don’t care who I piss off, as long as it helps our city - since I’m not trying to impress any other person in politics I’m completely unbiased.
As a university town we need better options for affordable housing, we need better transit systems, and we need to focus on protecting the environment. Those are the high-priority issues that I want to find better solutions for by any means necessary.
Aidan: Alongside those issues, prioritization of mental health care seems to be a large part of your message, and is an issue that is important to many high school students. What would you do in your first year as mayor to expand mental health services to every member of HRM on a municipal level?
Max: A lot of the times we [the government] wait for people to reach out to us, which is kind of a bad way to do things. Despite mental health issues getting some attention in the media (and Kids Help Phone, and Logic’s song 1-800-273-8255), there is still a stigma surrounding seeking support for your mental health issues.
We can’t wait for people to come to us; we have to let the community know that there are resources available for them, and we need to plaster the availability of these resources (like complimentary help centers) in as many places as possible (particularly on governmental social media pages). There needs to be people that are available to address mental health crises, anytime, day or night.
Aidan: Many people know you from your huge online presence. As many high-school students know, online personas can easily obscure many aspects of your life. Is there anything you’d like to share about yourself, beyond what we can learn from your TikTok page?
Max: People are missing the point of my campaign by calling me, “[the] TikTok boy.” My message is about getting young people involved in politics, and addressing the big issues that young people have. I do this by talking about my experience owning a small business in Halifax, working for the city, volunteering, and doing things in Halifax.
Then again, my TikTok background makes people more likely to listen to what I have to say because they think I’m going to say something stupid. Which is fine, because there’s no way I can lose if that's their expectation of me. Even during the mayoral debate I realized I could say anything as long as I was relatively well spoken in saying it; I make diarrhea jokes on the internet - I can’t lose.
Aidan: Well, you seem to be doing well in that regard, good luck with the rest of your campaign.
Max: I really appreciate it, brotha.
This interview has been edited for clarity and length.