It is heresy to say so, but Lincoln had very little talent for popular electoral politics. Even in his two Congressional races, he was not the locally popular candidate; for him to win in 1860, the opposition had to split into 3 separate parties. There is no question that Douglass would have won if Southern Democrat politicians had not been mad for formal secession.
Lincoln had no particular talent for party politics either. He is the only President who had to hide the name of his political party on his campaign posters in order to win re-election; and he compounded that mistake by choosing a Vice-Presidential candidate who was not even a Republican.
Ms. Goodwin can hardly say so, but Lincoln's "genius" for politics showed itself in his ability to see the opportunity that 1860 offered to a candidate who was not too much but just enough of a Republican to win the delegates votes in Chicago. That was pure mastery and a story that still remains largely untold.
While much attention may focus on the (slim) relationship between this book and Spielberg's movie 'Lincoln,' there is much more to be discovered here: Lincoln's cabinet members emerge from his historical shadow and become true individuals. The reader sees the evolution of Seward from troublesome firebrand to effective Secretary of State and staunch Lincoln supporter, while the often-overlooked machinations of Salmon P. Chase are given much detail. Excellent treatment of the inner workings of Lincoln's administration.