Steven Machat is a bit of a know-it-all.
However, in this age of politicians who put their gut "feelings" first and discard facts like fast-food wrappers, he might be the ideal leader for a new political enlightenment.
Last September, Machat threw his proverbial hat into the U.S. Senate race to represent Florida. Running as an independent, he's challenging Republican incumbent and former Trump punching bag Marco Rubio, who is likely to win an August primary fight to be GOP nominee. Machat's greatest obstacle may be attempting to steal votes from Democrats who support either Patrick Murphy, a man who regularly suckles on Wall Street's teat, or Alan Grayson, a progressive who's been accused of progressively beating his wife over the course of two decades.
New Times spoke with Machat at an Italian restaurant on Lincoln Road on a bright, sunny Miami Beach afternoon. Fresh from yoga, the 63-year-old New York native arrived wearing an all-white linen outfit and a radiant smile. Throughout the conversation, his eyes never broke contact, and his smile faltered only once, when he discussed the tragic loss of his son to a drug-fueled car crash a couple of years ago.
"I don't want anything. I can't take it with me."
Machat's endless reserves of stories, historical knowledge, philosophies, policies, and opinions about men he believes are unfit to sit in positions of power come from several lifetimes of experience in both the business and spiritual realms. In fact, when it comes to power and thrusting himself into a position of authority, he humbly declares, "I don't want anything. I can't take it with me."
Before Machat became a dark horse for U.S. Senate, he was a mogul in the film and music industry. He grew up under the tutelage of his father, famed entertainment lawyer Marty Machat, with whom he eventually became business partners. The elder Machat represented legendary figures across the spectrum of pop and rock, including James Brown, Leonard Cohen, Frank Sinatra, Phil Spector, Frankie Valli, and Sam Cooke. Steven became incredibly successful in his own right, adding to the roster high-profile acts such as ELO, Genesis, Peter Gabriel, Phil Collins, Bobby Brown, and New Edition.
Machat is a devout student of all religions and everything they have to teach us. The author of several books — including Sacred Knowledge: A Rock 'n' Roller's Guide to Higher Consciousness and his popular tell-all, Gods, Gangsters and Honour: A Rock 'n' Roll Odyssey — he can tell you in the same breath both the origin of certain practices and phrases from their Byzantine, Hebrew, Latin, or Sanskrit roots and an absolutely bananas story about Michael Jackson's disturbing proclivities.
Considering his lifelong association with politics — he was friends with Al Gore (a man he says he loves but "has no backbone") in law school and worked for Jimmy Carter's campaign while he was a public defender — it's a wonder he didn't run for office until now.
"I'm doing this so that every boy and girl growing up can have a dream and believe the dream can come true." It's a line that sounds corny and naive, but he believes those words.
Machat is also in favor of legalizing marijuana and finding an alternative to gun violence. Instead of concentrating on the guns themselves, he's more interested in identifying the roots of violence in America and why gun owners feel they're unsafe and must protect themselves. It's a challenging, big-picture mentality that so often escapes politicians looking for a quick fix and quicker reelection.
Steven Machat is and has been many things, but at this juncture in his life, above all, he is a Renaissance man and an idealist with the knowledge and willpower to do what so often eludes others. He's a bit cocky but simultaneously modest. He owns a gentle heart and a calculating, logical mind. He'll appeal to our souls one minute and our collective sense of injustice the next.
The question is, will he add senator to his resumé? One can only dream.