Theory: Trump only wants one term.
Let us explain.
The selection of Governor Mike Pence for veep always puzzled us. We never thought he added much to the ticket, though admittedly, veeps usually don't. At least in our own lifetime veep candidates can only be liabilities. See for example Dan Quayle and Sarah Palin.
What puzzled us more is why Pence took the gig. He obviously had presidential aspirations. Pence was a powerful congressman who left the house to run for governor of the great state of Indiana. In American governorships are stepping stones to the presidency. Pence is an old fashioned movement conservative, what did he want with Trump?
Ok, obviously if Trump lost Pence would've been well positioned to run in 2020, but he's frozen out till 2024 now.
Or is he?
What if Trump plans to do what he's going to do and then head off for Mar-a-Lago? What if that was part of the deal with Pence?
It's not unheard of for a successful president to serve only one term. In 1848 President James Polk had a great term. This included a new tariff bill (a big deal in the 19th century), annexing Texas, resolving the Oregon Dispute with the Brits, and of course throttling Mexico. Polk decided to call it quits.
What if Trump can point to a tax bill, deregulation, immigration reform, a roaring economy and say, you know what, I did what I wanted to do and I'm out?
Or does an ego the size of Trump's need affirmation via reelection in 2020?