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That sharpening divergence reflects the inescapable legislative reality that Biden can pass most of his economic blueprint through the special reconciliation process, which requires only a majority Senate vote, while the bulk of his cultural and racial priorities remain vulnerable to GOP filibusters — unless Democrats can convince their last few recalcitrant senators to curtail or eliminate the practice.With Democrats facing uncertain prospects for changing the filibuster — and no guarantee they can unify all 50 of their senators behind all of the party’s top cultural goals even if they do — the coming months will provide a revealing stress test on the priorities of the modern Democratic coalition.The economic agenda that Biden is positioned to advance — from massively expanding the child tax credit to breaking ground on big new public works projects — embodies the highest priority of earlier generations of Democratic leaders, from Roosevelt to Johnson, on expanding opportunity for average families. Where Biden could fall short is on legislation advancing equity and inclusion on the grounds of race, gender and sexual orientation that has become the most powerful motivation for many younger Democratic activists.During the 2020 campaign, Biden often described himself as a “bridge” to a diverse new generation of Democratic leaders; yet, ironically, the first two years of his presidency may be marked by a reversion to the kitchen-table issues that dominated the party when he came of age during the 1950s and 1960s.Even though the House has quickly passed an array of Democratic social and cultural priorities (from police reform to voting rights), White House officials and Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer have left no doubt that their principal focus for the coming months will be winning approval for the $2 trillion economic plan focused on physical infrastructure that the President recently issued and the follow-up plan that’s expected soon on human capital, including education, training and extending the child tax credit.

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