Kent Mesplay, campaigning for the Green Party nomination for President, suggests that Ralph Nader's Independent run for President might boost his delegate count in the second round of this summer's Green Party Convention. Though Nader won significant popular vote in several key states, including California with the largest constituency, many state parties have successfully pushed for bylaws which require a candidate to be a signed member of the party. "Ralph Nader is basically doing his own thing, as he always does," said Mesplay. "I think strategically, he's making a mistake if it is his intent to be the nominee (of the Green Party). If I criticize the man, it's not because he's running an independent candidacy. He's saying some important things and pointing out that there's too much money in politics. People who were drafting him allowed his name to be used, so there are many who are disappointed." [He continued, "Nader has elder status in that he helped the Green Party get going. Some people just have not been able to let him go." Mesplay contends that, as in 2004 when he ran against Nader and Cobb, Nader's delegates may be attracted to his particular platform, which emphasizes sustainability through local food growth, rapid transit systems, efficient architecture and renewable energy creation. "Things get interesting in the second round," said Mesplay, when the number of promised delegates pledged to Nader could select one of the remaining candidates, including himself. "I intend to win the nomination." Cynthia McKinney, former Democratic Congresswoman of Georgia who recently signed up to be a Green appears to be the frontrunner. McKinney draws into the party a much sought constituency of the black and urban communities. Her platform emphasizes social and economic justice, a much heralded but little played tune from the party's ten key values. Her record of standing up in Congress to others in office and of opening up matters that most have ignored gained her the respect of many Greens, while her public persona took a beating from fellow Democrats and the media. To date, her campaign has demonstrated the most organizational and fundraising muscle. When asked about fellow candidate Jesse Johnson's recent vote of support from Democratic Presidential candidate Mike Grave l, Mesplay said, "I'm pleased for Jesse, because it shows that people are starting to pay attention to the Green Party. It shows how creative we can be and how creative we must be in order to attract media attention."
According to Libertarian leaning reporter David Weigel, Gravel has since mentioned that he gave the Johnson the vocal support in order to "Give him a leg up over Cynthia McKinney and Ralph Nader." Gravel and Johnson share a strong interest in shared Green and Libertarian values of defending the Constitution, decentralization and ending the "War on Drugs".
In whatever manner any Green can receive a serious mention in the media it benefits the entire party, according to Mesplay. He hopes that in the 100 days before the convention, his additional campaign work will attract enough media attention to offer some great competition at this year's convention. This weekend, he will be a guest speaker at the Harvey Mudd College Goal 5 Conference, along with a number of other distinguished environmentalists. In late April, he intends to protest the exclusion of the Green Party at the Science Debate 2008 , a nationally sponsored debate between the assumed viable candidates for President. Difficult to not see the irony that the Green Party would not be included in an event like this. It remains to be seen if Ralph Nader will be attending, either as an invited or unwelcomed guest.
BlogTalkRadio's 3/20/08 interview of Mesplay provides a useful window on this candidate, whose generally soft-spoken nature is easily overlooked in a crowd of stage savvy politicians. Or the following video of Mesplay from Polidoc Productions current documentary "Seriously Green" helps to put a face to Mesplay's name.