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Bernie Sanders urges his supporters to vote for Joe Biden in DNC speech

Sen. Bernie Sanders, the runner up for the Democratic presidential nomination, said the price of failing to win in November is 'too great to imagine.'

Bernie Sanders has unleashed a scathing attack on President Donald Trump, suggesting that under him “authoritarianism has taken root in our country.”

Addressing the opening night of the virtual Democratic National Convention on Monday, the Vermont senator said Trump had proved incapable of controlling the coronavirus outbreak, coping with the economic fallout and addressing institutional racism in the United States and climate change threatening the globe.

“Nero fiddled while Rome burned,” Sanders said. “Trump golfs.”

Sanders, who finished second in the Democratic primary behind Joe Biden, struck a more optimistic tone when he thanked supporters who voted for him in 2016 and 2020 for helping to move the country “in a bold, new direction.”

He called on his backers, as well as those who supported other 2020 Democratic primary contenders or Trump four years ago, to unite behind Biden.

Sanders says, “My friends, the price of failure is just too great to imagine.”

RELATED: 5 takeaways from first night of Democratic convention

RELATED: Republican John Kasich at DNC: Time to 'put our nation first'

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Joe Biden’s former primary rivals are calling on rank-and-file Democrats to put aside any hard feelings and support the former vice president’s campaign.

Speaking live from St. Paul, Minnesota, Sen. Amy Klobuchar unveiled a video that also featured New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker, former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke, businessman Tom Steyer, New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand and entrepreneur Andrew Yang, among others.

“It’s not easy to unite the Democratic Party,” said Washington Gov. Jay Inslee. “Joe Biden has pulled it off.”

Democrats started with a large, historically diverse field of candidates. But while the party is becoming increasing diverse, Biden, a 77-year-old white man, won.

The former rivals said the need to defeat President Donald Trump is just too important to let hard feelings linger.

“There is no cavalry,” O’Rourke said. “We are the cavalry.”

Credit: AP
Former Vice President Joe Biden, left, and Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., right, greet one another before they participate in a Democratic presidential primary debate at CNN Studios in Washington, Sunday, March 15, 2020. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)