The Republican Party of Lincoln’s lifetime was quite different than the contemporary Republican Party, yet Lincoln is still sometimes invoked as a symbol for the GOP. Throughout February and March, Republican groups host Lincoln Day dinner events, at which potential candidates often speak to sympathetic crowds in order to fundraise.
Nevertheless, it seems like Lincoln’s views are more aligned with the contemporary Democratic Party. “This was the party of Lincoln, after all; it was Republicans who rejected an absolute right to property (meaning: owning other humans), who initiated the first income tax, who argued government could be used to promote opportunity, and who waged a revolutionary war against the smokescreen of states’ rights” (source).
In this context, similar to other American icons, Lincoln’s specific views and the historical record are glossed over. Instead, the Republican Party capitalizes on the positive associations most Americans have with Lincoln to drum up support.