In 1876, at least, there were competing electors that each claimed official imprimatur. In Oregon the Governor and the Secretary of State certified different slates. Florida’s outgoing Governor signed off on a group of electors, only to be reversed by the incoming Governor.

None of that ambiguity exists now. Self-styled Republican shadow electors held their own gatherings this month in some states that Mr. Biden won. But it was a purely extracurricular exercise. In Georgia the GOP chairman said it was intended to preserve Mr. Trump’s legal options, even as the state’s Republican leaders officially certified electors for Mr. Biden…

Republicans should be embarrassed by Mr. Trump’s Electoral College hustle. Mr. Trump is putting his loyal VP in a terrible spot, and what do Republicans think would happen if Mr. Pence pulled the trigger, Mr. Biden was denied 270 electoral votes, and the House chose Mr. Trump as President? Riots in the streets would be the least of it.

Mr. Pence is too much of a patriot to go along, but the scramble to overturn the will of the voters tarnishes Mr. Trump’s legacy and undermines any designs he has on running in 2024. Republicans who humor him will be giving Democrats license to do the same in the future, and then it might matter.