In the 1860 election, the Democratic Party split into two factions. The northern Democrats nominated Lincoln’s perennial rival, Senator Stephen A. Douglas. The southern Democrats nominated John C. Breckenridge, the incumbent vice president, a pro-slavery man from Kentucky. Those who felt they could support neither party, mainly disaffected former Whigs and members of the Know-Nothing Party, formed the Constitutional Union Party and nominated John Bell of Tennessee.
When the presidential election was held on November 6, 1860, Lincoln did very well in the northern states, and though he garnered less than 40 percent of the popular vote, he won a landslide victory in the electoral college. Even if the Democratic Party had not fractured, it’s likely Lincoln still would have won due to his strength in states heavy with electoral votes.