Backhaus wants to try an exchange program with a Trump-backing Wisconsinite visiting his diverse Queens neighborhood.
West Bend native Dan Backhaus has lived in New York City for 15 years. Still, “It kind of bummed me out that Wisconsin flipped red this election,” Backhaus says.
“It dawned on me over the weekend when I was at JFK at the protests, and I was wondering what I could actually do besides protest, because I can’t do this every weekend for four years,” Backhaus says in a phone interview with Isthmus. “I was an exchange student when I was in high school, and I thought, ‘Why don’t I do some kind of an exchange with someone from Wisconsin?’”
Backhaus penned a Facebook post inviting any Wisconsinite who voted for Trump to come stay with him, his girlfriend and his dog Megabite in Queens for a free weekend, in his racially and religiously diverse neighborhood. The visitor would have to pay only for the plane ticket, though Backhaus also says he feels his friends would pool money to pay for a ticket, if necessary.
“I feel like I understand the rural Wisconsin Trump voter. I’m thinking about how, if I had never left West Bend, I might be really scared of immigrants or people who are different than me. You live in New York City for a while, you realize everyone’s kind of the same.”
The post has been shared widely, but Backhaus had no takers for his free weekend in Queens, “though I think I might have found someone right now,” he says Monday afternoon. “It’s also not a limited thing; I am happy to do this one weekend a month.”
Backhaus, who manages record producers and bands for a living, says he’s not interested in arguing with someone for an entire weekend, and he’s not going to be preaching to his guest. “If you can handle drinking beer, eating free meals and walking around a cool neighborhood in Queens for a day — I’m not looking to make anyone uncomfortable.”
Still, the country’s current fixation on political and religious differences doesn’t sit right with Backhaus. He jokes that he would like to see people get back to disliking people for real New Yorker-like reasons “like they’re eating on the subway or walking too slow on the sidewalk.”
Backhaus’ original post:
I’d like to invite any Wisconsinite who supports Trump to come spend a free weekend with me, my girlfriend and my dog Megabite in Elmhurst, Queens. Wisconsin friends, please share this post.
If anyone should support Trump and fear terrorism, Muslims and refugees, it’s me. I’m a 40 year old, non-college educated white male from the reddest county in Wisconsin.
But I don’t do any of those things. In fact, for 15 years I’ve lived in New York City, working five blocks from the World Trade Center (next to a mosque!) and live in Elmhurst, Queens, where 71% of the residents are foreign born.
How did that happen? How is an uneducated, Packer loving, cheese curd eating, High Life drinking guy from West Bend who grew up listening to Mark Belling able to live like this?
If you voted for Trump please visit for a weekend to find out!
What we ask:
That you pay for your flight, although if that is an issue I’m sure my friends will chip in to cover it.
That 1/2 your time here is spent exploring Elmhurst and Jackson Heights, Queens with us.
That you come into this with an open mind.
That you bring us cheese curds and/or sausage sticks. You just can’t really get them here. The kind that you buy in the airport are fine!
What we will provide:
Weekend use of our extra bedroom at no cost!
Your meals are on us!
A judgement-free weekend. We don’t wanna argue, we just want to introduce you to some of the immigrants Trump sees as a threat.
If you’d like, we can guide you around doing whatever touristy things you’d like for the 1/2 of the trip not spent in Queens.
A fridge stocked with High Life
If you are interested in taking part in this, please email me at email@example.com and tell me a bit about yourself, what you are hoping to get out of the weekend, and which weekends work for you.
Priority booking will be given to: Mark Belling, Reince Priebus, Scott Walker, Paul Ryan, Glenn Grothman, Jim Sensenbrenner and Sean Duffy.
Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke will be denied booking. I do not want to be murdered in my own home if I accidentally look at him in a way that hurts his delicate, Cowboy-loving feelings.
UPDATE: After reaching over 75,000 people, most in Wisconsin, I've gotten zero emails. I'm going to send a version of this offer to every newspaper in Wisconsin. Please help me by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org with the following: 1) The name of your hometown newspaper. 2) The city it covers. 3) The email address used to send letters to the editor. 4) The names and titles of any local politicians I should include in the “priority booking” offer. Cool? Take 5 minutes today to help me out and maybe we can get a few politicians to visit me and confront their fear.