If you have to go back to the 1860s or even the 1960s to claim the "party of civil rights" mantle -- while ignoring legislative votes and executive actions taken in *this* decade -- you're clearly grasping at straws.
It's a fairly big tell that he hasn't read much in the field and probably never even took a class in US history.
Yes, a higher proportion of Republicans *did* vote for the Civil Rights Act and Voting Rights Act. Yes, their votes were crucial to passage of each.
But they were junior partners in the process, and soon marginalized in their party.
In 1964, Dems had nearly a 2-to-1 margin in the House (258 D, 176 R); in 1965, more than a 2-to-1 margin (295 D, 140 R).
In 1964, Dems had nearly a 2-to-1 margin in the Senate (64 D, 36 R); in 1965, more than a 2-to-1 margin (68 D, 32 R).
Liberal Dems fought for these bills; conservative Dems worked to stop them.
Both were introduced by Democratic presidents, ushered through Congress by Democratic committee chairs and leaders, given more votes in the end by Democrats than the GOP, and then signed by Democratic president.
Here's JFK calling for the bill:
Here's LBJ calling for the bill after Selma:
Yes, Southern Democrats in the Senate filibustered the CRA. But the only Southern Republican senator filibustered too, and the filibuster's leader soon switched to the GOP.
D'Souza and those like him point to the yes votes of liberal & moderate Republicans -- deliberately ignoring the no votes of conservatives like Goldwater -- to claim that today's *conservative* GOP is the party of civil rights.
At the time, conservatives were engaged in civil war with these liberals and moderates, trying to drive them out of the Republican Party.
At the 1964 RNC, Nelson Rockefeller called out extremists in the GOP and was roundly booed:
This was evident in public polling at the time.
In 1964, only 7% saw the GOP as better on civil rights. SEVEN. PERCENT.
In 1960, a lengthy, detailed section on civil rights.
In 1964, only a few lines.
In 1968, not a *single* mention of civil rights
Here, read them yourself:
There were, to be sure, moderates in the GOP like Romney and Rockefeller who stood up for civil rights. But Goldwater Republicans fought them for control of the party and ultimately won:
Sorry, you didn't want them then. You don't get to claim them now.