U.S. Senate candidate Steven Machat (I-FL) will definitely be on the ballot in Florida Nov. 8th, but, because of establishment partisanship and media collusion, Floridians might not know who he is or where he stands on the issues before then. Mr. Machat as well as four other non-party affiliated (NPA) candidates who qualified for ballot access are currently being barred from appearing on the debate stage with their Democratic and Republican rivals.
Machat is hoping to change the dynamics of this biased electoral process through legal action as he has recently filed a lawsuit against the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and the Florida "Debate Partners" to allow himself and the other qualified NPA candidates into the debates. The suit is currently pending adjudication in a Southern Florida U.S. District Court. (The details of the lawsuit can be viewed here.)
I had the opportunity to interview Mr. Machat about the struggles he's faced as an Independent candidate battling the establishment machine as well as his views on issues concerning Florida voters. "I'm running for all of us," Machat straight-forwardly remarked when asked why he chose to become involved in politics in 2016.
Since it is still uncertain whether or not he will be blocked from making his case on the statewide debate stage, it's important for Floridians to be introduced to their third option here.
At the heart of Steven Machat's candidacy are the beliefs that the corporate political establishment has endangered both the natural habitats we depend on and the very soul of our democracy:
"I want to protect the people of Florida from wrong corporate behavior, such as the polluting of Lake Okeechobee, the destruction of the Everglades, the expansion of fracking and Monsanto ... We're part of nature, we're not above nature. We need to learn to live within our means to respect nature and perpetuate it ... I really want to open [the debates] so people can [know] who the candidates are so we can stop this two-headed, one-party system run by corporations."
Machat's personal and professional experience certainly qualify him to take on the corporate gatekeepers controlling the debate system he calls "the payola of airwaves." He is an eclectic music industry mogul who has worked with a wide range of popular recording artists, from Peter Gabriel and Phil Collins, to Bobby Brown, Snoop Dogg and Bone Thugz N' Harmony, to name a few. He is also a well-traveled individual, having lived in many countries all over the world in his quest to discover new voices and talents. His culturally diverse business career has given Steven the global perspective many current politicians are sorely lacking. It has also taught him to be a spokesman for the downtrodden who is willing to lay his career on the line in order to give voice to the voiceless.
"I so badly want to serve the people, and to do that I have to take on the payola of airwaves ... I know all about that payola [system], I know how to get someone on the airwaves or keep someone off."
This insight into the methods being used against him could be part of the reason the Florida "Debate Partners" are afraid to allow him onto the stage. Another part could be the anti-establishment, pro-populist policy views he holds, such as support for a single-payer healthcare system and a belief that students should not have to pay interest on their student loans:
"The Federal Reserve loans money to the banks at three-quarters of a percent interest, then [the banks] loan it to our students at eight percent. The congress then knocks it down to seven percent and they all pat themselves on the back ... They're robbing everyone. Our children are our greatest asset, we don't need to charge them interest to get an education."
Machat has visited all 67 Florida counties over the course of his campaign in an attempt to introduce himself to his would-be constituents, an extremely daunting task without the aid of statewide media coverage. The FCC was created in 1934 for the dual-purpose of preventing any one political party from controlling the dissemination of information and giving all qualified candidates equal opportunity of access to the public airwaves. Those objectives appear to have gone by the wayside in this election cycle with the continued blackouts of candidates who don't tote the party lines.
"I'm a qualified candidate for Senate, as are the other NPAs, and we have every right to stand in front of the people [of Florida] on the debate stage," Machat reiterated, "If you put me into a debate, I will show the people that they're hiring my mind and my morals. They'll see they're not hiring someone who gets told what to do by the Democratic or Republican parties."
The lawsuit filed by Steven Machat is attempting to break the media manipulation by the political elite and bring the necessary element of informed choice back to our democratic process. It could very well set a powerful precedent for NPA candidates struggling to be heard nationwide. #OpenTheDebates
Visit Machat4Senate to learn more.