WASHINGTON, D.C. (NEXSTAR) — Unity was the theme for Democrats Monday night as they kicked off the Democratic National Convention, virtually rallying for their 2020 ticket: former Vice President Joe Biden and California Senator Kamala Harris.

“We must come together, defeat Donald Trump and elect Joe Biden,” Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders said. “This election is the most important in the modern history of this country.”

Sanders, once Biden’s main opponent in the quest for the party’s nomination, threw his support behind Biden and Harris and spoke about the high stakes of this year’s election.

“We need an unprecedented response, a movement like never before, of people who are prepared to stand up and fight for democracy and decency,” he said.

Sanders said Americans must band together as the nation grapples with racial unrest and the continued fallout from the pandemic.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, whose state was once the epicenter of COVID-19 outbreak, spoke about the need for real leadership in the face of a crisis.

“It determines whether we thrive and grow, or whether we live or die,” he said.

But, according to Cuomo, the pandemic has taught Americans an important lesson.

“Americans’ eyes have been opened and we have seen in this crisis the truth, that government matters and leadership matter,” Cuomo said. “Now we need a leader as good as our people.”

Cuomo and Sanders say that leader is Joe Biden.