Opinion: How our readers rode the election-week emotional roller coaster

A supporter of Joe Biden walks through a crowd of Trump supporters in Phoenix on Nov. 6.
(Los Angeles Times)

I think I can speak for all election watchers, left and right, when I say that sitting in front a screen for days has never been so exhausting. Looking back at the letters that came in between election night on Tuesday and Friday morning, when it became clear that former Vice President Joe Biden was close to becoming President-elect Joe Biden, is like riding an emotional roller coaster.

Let’s get one fact out of the way: The proportion of letter writers who favored Biden over President Trump was roughly similar to the mail-in ballot breakdown in Pennsylvania. In other words, it wasn’t close. So, it might not be surprising to find out that the prevailing emotion among our readers quickly went from confidence to dismay as the votes started being counted on Tuesday, and culminated in a sense of relief on Friday. Here is a representative sample of our reader reaction over time.

Marcha Katz of Seal Beach was among the several readers who, before the polls closed on Tuesday, anticipated a Biden victory and wrote letters using a phrase from Trump’s reality TV days:


Dear Donald Trump: We the citizens of the United States of America have something to say to you.

You’re fired.

The mood took a glum turn Tuesday night and Wednesday morning as early returns led many people to believe Trump might win or only narrowly lose. Shortly after midnight Wednesday, Victor W. Monsura of Garden Grove sent us this letter:

A U.S. presidential election in which the candidate perceived to be the decent, competent one wins but not with a landslide is sad proof of the American voters’ poor conception of virtue.

This only proves that America is really in a bad, distressing place and very far removed from its mythical view of itself as that bright city on the hill.

For someone who became an American citizen by choice, this is very distressing.

Sacramento John Crandell’s letter was also sent very early Wednesday morning:

Trump’s attempt to strong-arm the presidential election and try to direct the Supreme Court to halt vote counting is proto-fascism.

The greatest republic in the history of this planet now has a would-be dictator as its president. He is trying to massacre our Constitution. There are no clearer words to describe our situation.

Whatever the outcome, impeachment should be mandatory.

The letters continued mostly like that until Friday morning, when the mood lightened somewhat and Robert G. Brewer of Sherman Oaks sent us this letter:

This was like watching someone trying to fill a water bucket with an eye dropper. All I can say now is whew!

Also on Friday, Lawrence Ebo of Orange brought back the Tuesday morning vibes:

Mr. President, this is on behalf of the more than 400 people you fired or who resigned under your presidency: You’re fired.