S asks me to explain some puzzling US History

After I sent S. the close up photo of my Lincoln tie S was troubled by the strange fact that Republican Abe Lincoln should choose a Democrat in 1864 to be his running mate. As simply as I could I attempted to make sense of it:

S. to me:

Regarding your tie, I can see the details now thank you

Why Lincoln was with Andrew Johnson ? After Lincoln’s murder, Johnson became president.
I have just read that” he is currently considered one of the worst American presidents because of his opposition to rights guaranteed at the federal level for African-Americans”

How Lincoln could have been associated with such a man?

My explanation to my French pupil:

As for Lincoln and Andrew Johnson… In 1860 it made perfect sense for Abe to have his only pro-Civil War democratic ally in the US Senate be his running mate. Before the election no one thought Lincoln could get elected because the war had been going so badly for the North. His General McClelland was running as a Democrat against him as a peace candidate.

So, Lincoln was looking for ways he could keep Democrats from voting against him. And Vice presidents were already well known for being of no consequence. Except for when a President dies. Lincoln, of course, wasn’t planning on dying.

Then the war changed and Ulysses Grant won the war in the West and opened up the Mississippi and Gen. Sherman captured Atlanta, Georgia. Lincoln sent absentee ballots to a million union army soldiers who wanted to win the war knowing that they were likely to vote for Lincoln.

Then, just days after Lincoln was sworn into his second term just after the South’s General Lee was forced to surrender, John Wilkes Booth assassinated Lincoln. Wilkes plan was to behead the North by also killing Vice President Johnson but that part of the conspiracy fell apart. Had Johnson been killed too things would have ended differently and there would have been no fight between President Johnson and the Congressional Republicans.

That is the zig zag of history. Politicians are like everyone else. They make plans for one set of circumstances and then Coronavirus hits and their plans stop working.

Donald Trump was the Republican Party’s first corona virus before the second corona virus hit them too.

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