Trevor Noah on L.A. mayor race: Karen Bass vs. Rick Caruso

Still not sure who to vote for Los Angeles mayor on the day of the California primary?

Daily Show host Trevor Noah has you covered.

On the Monday episode of his Comedy Central program, Noah demystified the LA mayoral election by succinctly introducing the frontrunners: Rep. Karen Bass (D-Los Angeles) and billionaire developer Rick Caruso.

“When this race started, there was one clear frontrunner: Congresswoman Karen Bass,” Noah explained. “She has a decade of experience in Congress. And a few years ago, she almost got elected as Joe Biden’s vice president. Yes – she came this close to ruining her life.

“Congressman Bass has the full support of the party establishment in this race and that meant she was going to win. For long stretches of the election campaign, she had a clear lead in the polls. But that was all until this happened.”

Enter Caruso, a business mogul and philanthropist whose real estate company has developed famous local shopping destinations like the Grove and Americana at Brand. A former Republican, Caruso switched his voter registration from nonpartisan to Democratic less than a month before beginning his campaign for mayor. He has said he wants to bring the Democratic Party back “to what it was 30 years ago.”

“Why do so many politicians want to go back in time but never forward?” Noah mused. “Guys, we’ve tried in the past – that’s how we ended up here. …

“I’m not surprised Rick Caruso wants to go back 30 years. Remember: He makes malls. 30 years ago was a great time for mall developers. Back in the ’90s … people spent all day in the mall.”

Noah’s breakdown of the LA mayoral race aired hours before Tuesday – aka Election Day, when all ballots are due. The LA Times also published a comprehensive guide to the area code — complete with candidate profiles, voting instructions, and endorsements.

“Billionaire Rick Caruso — a longtime Republican who turned Democrat just for this election — is now neck and neck with a Liberal politician everyone expected to win,” Noah continued.

“And if you’re wondering how that happened in Los Angeles — a city so liberal you can legally marry your electric car — it’s because he has a lot of money and a very clear message.”

Caruso and Bass have made tackling LA’s homeless crisis a cornerstone of their campaigns.

Noah pointed out that the former has spent almost $40 million on ubiquitous campaign advertising and has also relied on the support of celebrities such as Snoop Dogg, Gwyneth Paltrow and Kim Kardashian.

Bass — a former South LA-born activist who has devoted much of her life to fighting structural racism and supporting foster children — has spent relatively little on marketing. She’s also garnered celebrity endorsements from Shonda Rhimes, Ariana Grande, Donald Glover, Steven Spielberg, and more.

In May, the Times editorial board endorsed the congresswoman for mayor after interviewing both Bass and Caruso.

“Thanks to Caruso’s tremendous spending advantage, celebrity endorsement and focus on quality of life issues for people who are not homeless, it looks like this election is on point,” Noah said.

“Well, it’s an elementary school, yes. But here’s the thing: In California, if someone wins 50% of the vote in the primary, the race is automatically over. This person is the new mayor. So every vote counts.”

At the end of his primary segment, Noah rolled a tape of KTTV News interviewing Angelenos, who couldn’t identify a single mayoral candidate. Instead, some of them named Gov. Gavin Newsom – who is again running for governor of California, not LA mayor

“This is the current state of the Los Angeles mayoral race: a lifelong politician versus a lifelong businessman,” Noah summarized.

“And I’m not going to tell you who to vote for, but at the very least — if you’re going to vote — I’d say, by all means, make sure you’re voting for the mayor and not the governor, who already has a job.” “ Trevor Noah on L.A. mayor race: Karen Bass vs. Rick Caruso

Sarah Ridley

Sarah Ridley is a USTimesPost U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. Sarah Ridley joined USTimesPost in 2023 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing

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