Balloons fall as Donald Trump rises. On Thursday night, the New York businessman formally became the Republican presidential nominee. (Ricky Carioti/The Washington Post)

Donald Trump formally accepted the Republican presidential nomination last night, delivering a long speech about a nation in decline before balloons dropped from the ceiling and fireworks were launched outside as the Republican National Convention came to an end in Cleveland, Ohio.

Speaking to “the forgotten men and women of our country,” the people who “work hard but no longer have a voice,” Trump declared: “I am your voice.” He pledged as president to restore a sense of public safety, strictly curb immigration and save the nation from what he described as Hillary Clinton’s record of “death, destruction, terrorism and weakness.”

The speech capped a long and rocky primary campaign for Trump, who entered the Republican race in June 2015. The New York businessman shocked the political world this spring by consistently defeating more established rivals such as former Florida governor Jeb Bush, senators Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, and Ohio governor John Kasich (pronounced KAY-sick) in primary elections and caucuses.

Trump’s speech — which at one hour and 15 minutes was the longest acceptance speech in at least four decades — also marked the end to a convention that wasn’t like the usual pep rally. On Wednesday, Cruz shocked the convention hall in a speech in which he failed to endorse Trump. The Texas senator was booed off the stage after he told Republicans to “vote your conscience” rather than telling the crowd to vote for Trump.

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump and vice presidential candidate Mike Pence celebrate at the close of the convention. (Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post)

Trump called himself “the law and order candidate” in his acceptance speech, though he offered few specifics about how he would handle violence in American cities or terrorism around the world.

“I have joined the political arena so that the powerful can no longer beat up on people that cannot defend themselves,” he said in his address.

Trump and his vice-presidential pick, Indiana governor Mike Pence, are now squarely focused on their general election campaign against Clinton. The former secretary of state and first lady is scheduled to accept her party’s nomination at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, next week.

Clinton has yet to announce her running mate. Democrats close to the Clinton campaign have indicated that the favorite for her choice appears to be Senator Tim Kaine of Virginia, who has appeared with her on the campaign trail and has received support from the White House and former President Bill Clinton.

The election is November 8.