In a draft of a letter, later recorded as #246, Tolkien makes a strange statement. I am interested in the first few sentences of the letter, but I will include the remainder for the sake of context.
In the 'Mirror of Galadriel', 1381, it appears that Galadriel conceived of herself as capable of wielding the Ring and supplanting the Dark Lord. If so, so also were the other guardians of the Three, especially Elrond. But this is another matter. It was part of the essential deceit of the Ring to fill minds with imaginations of supreme power. But this the Great had well considered and had rejected, as is seen in Elrond's words at the Council. Galadriel's rejection of the temptation was founded upon previous thought and resolve.
In any case Elrond or Galadriel would have proceeded in the policy now adopted by Sauron: they would have built up an empire with great and absolutely subservient generals and armies and engines of war, until they could challenge Sauron and destroy him by force. Confrontation of Sauron alone, unaided, self to self was not contemplated.
One can imagine the scene in which Gandalf, say, was placed in such a position. It would be a delicate balance. On one side the true allegiance of the Ring to Sauron; on the other superior strength because Sauron was not actually in possession, and perhaps also because he was weakened by long corruption and expenditure of will in dominating inferiors. If Gandalf proved the victor, the result would have been for Sauron the same as the destruction of the Ring; for him it would have been destroyed, taken from him for ever. But the Ring and all its works would have endured. It would have been the master in the end.
Gandalf as Ring-Lord would have been far worse than Sauron. He would have remained 'righteous', but self-righteous. He would have continued to rule and order things for 'good', and the benefit of his subjects according to his wisdom (which was and would have remained great).
[The draft ends here. In the margin Tolkien wrote: 'Thus while Sauron multiplied [illegible word] evil, he left "good" clearly distinguishable from it. Gandalf would have made good detestable and seem wicked'].
-Tolkien, Letter #246
What was Tolkien trying to say with the following line?
If so, so also were the other guardians of the Three, especially Elrond.
If what is so, and Elrond was especially what? Is Elrond especially likely to master the Ring? Is he especially likely to imagine that he could master the Ring?
Note: This is not a duplicate of "Was Elrond, in Tolkien's opinion, more inherently powerful than Galadriel?", since I am not interested in who is more powerful. I am only interested in Tolkien's intended meaning when he wrote the letter. The other question is in-universe, mine is concerned with the letter itself, not the story or the characters within it.