Fresh off proposing that people show up 15 minutes late to work to fight for statehood, presidential spoiler Ralph Nader has a new scheme to help the District: demanding a presidential debate on D.C. issues.

In a letter sent today, Nader and co-signers including Mayor Vince Gray, Busboys & Poets owner Andy Shallal, and D.C. Vote ask the two major parties, as well as the Libertarian Party and the Green Party, to bypass the Commission on Presidential Debates and stage a debate in Washington that focuses on the District. (Which does, after all, have three electoral votes.)

“A geographically and logistically convenient venue can be arranged in short order,” Nader promises.

The odds would seem to be against D.C. convincing Mitt Romney and Barack Obama—-or even Libertarian Gary Johnson—-to talk gentrification. Besides an understandable reluctance from the rest of America to hear about commuter taxes, D.C.’s a reliably Democratic vote. But Nader, who says he became interested in the debates during his presidential runs, thinks that we have a secret weapon on our side: Gray.

“[D.C.’s application] is the only one that’s so emphatically supported by the mayor,” Nader tells City Desk, after first expressing surprise that a reporter at a paper that publishes Savage Love would be interested in anything besides sex. “Because the other mayors, they may be Democratic and they’re listening to the DNC and they don’t want to upset the debate commission.”‘

But Nader isn’t putting all of his statehood eggs in one basket. Showing up to work progressively later for statehood—-the “limited general strike”—-is still on. On Oct. 1, the last day of the strike, sympathetic working folks should show up for work an hour late. And Nader says this isn’t the last we’ll hear of the limited general strike.

“The goal is to get more people to do it on the second round,” Nader says.

Photo by Flickr user @mjb used under a Creative Commons license