Trevor Noah tries to make sense of L.A.’s mayoral showdown between Bass and Caruso


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

“Daily Show” host Trevor Noah’s got you covered.

On Monday’s episode of his Comedy Central program, Noah demystified the L.A. mayoral election by succinctly profiling the top candidates: Rep. Karen Bass (D-Los Angeles) and billionaire developer Rick Caruso.

“When this race began, there was a clear front-runner: Congresswoman Karen Bass,” Noah explained. “She has a decade of experience in Congress. And a couple of years ago, she was nearly picked to be Joe Biden’s vice president. Yeah — she was this close to ruining her life.


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“Congresswoman Bass has the full support of the party establishment in this race, and that meant that she was going to win. For much of the 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 developed famed local shopping destinations such as the Grove and the Americana at Brand. A former Republican, Caruso switched his voter registration from no party affiliation to Democratic less than a month before launching his campaign for mayor. He has said he wants to return the Democratic Party to “what it was 30 years ago.”

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

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

Noah’s breakdown of the L.A. mayoral race aired hours before Tuesday — a.k.a. election day when everyone’s ballots are due. The L.A. Times has also published a comprehensive guide to the primary election — complete with candidate profiles, voting instructions and endorsements.

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


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

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Caruso and Bass have made tackling L.A.’s homelessness crisis a cornerstone of their campaigns.

Noah pointed out that the former has spent nearly $40 million on ubiquitous campaign ads, in addition to leaning on the support of celebrities such as Snoop Dogg, Gwyneth Paltrow and Kim Kardashian.

Bass — a former activist born in South L.A. who has dedicated much of her life to fighting structural racism and providing support for foster youth — has spent relatively little on marketing. She has also collected celebrity endorsements from the likes of Shonda Rhimes, Ariana Grande, Donald Glover, Steven Spielberg and more.

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

“Thanks to Caruso’s huge spending advantage, his celebrity endorsements and his focus on quality-of-life issues for people who aren’t homeless, this election looks like it’s going down to the wire,” Noah said.


“Now, it is a primary, yes. But here’s the thing: In California, if anyone wins 50% of the vote in the primary, the race is automatically over. That person is the new mayor. So every vote is going to count.”

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At the end of his primary election 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 running again for governor of California, not mayor of L.A.

“That right there is the current state of the race for mayor in Los Angeles: a lifelong politician going up against a lifelong businessman,” Noah recapped.

“And I’m not going to tell you who to vote for, but at the very least — if you guys are going to vote — I would say definitely make sure that you’re voting for the mayor and not the governor, who already has a job.”