So here goes. I think what John Edwards might have more than John Kerry is charisma. Sure he kind of got made fun of for it in a way as he was good looking but kind of dopey (or at least I thought so as a teen in rural, conservative Nebraska, where even though I didn't love Bush, I wasn't a fan of him or Kerry) but I think he might do okay, but not much better. Granted some states had quite thin margins so maybe Edwards wins them.
As for Vice President, I'm guessing he still goes with someone who's from the north or west, but probably from a red or purple state. Lots of guys fit this Tom Harkin and Tom Vilsack out of Iowa, Dick Gephardt out of Missouri, Tom Daschle and Tim Johnson out of South Dakota, Evan Bayh in Indiana, Kathleen Sibelius out of Kansas, heck Ben Neslon out of Nebraska , which even as miniscule as that sounds, might help a tad in Iowa and get an extra electoral vote from Nebraska, though Omaha wasn't yet the purple dot it is today. Max Baucus in Montana or even Senators Feingold or Kohl in Wisconsin would fit this too.
Otherwise, Kerry is still likely, as are probably old democratic vets like Biden or Chris Dodd or maybe even Chuck Schumer, but I don't see anyone from a coastal state being selected if only because Bush can do what his father did and portray them as an out of touch liberal. Honestly, my guess is either Gephardt, Harkin, Bayh or Feingold. Bayh seems to be a tad appealing and Feingold has his name on a popular piece of bipartisan legislation. Gephardt might also pull more centrists and maybe puts Missouri in play but Feingold secures Wisconsin and Harkin would probably secure Iowa. Again its a dark horse and much like Daschle and Johnson, the Dems wouldn't want to lose those seats in a tight senate but Ben Nelson might work if they are okay with him being pro life and very pro gun and basically the most conservative Democrat in the senate. Sure most liberals might not like it but they gotta win right?
So I had more, but I guess I didn't post it. Anyways, I think that Edwards would probably go with Tom Vilsack or Evan Bayh, but Vilsack was also on Kerry's short list so he might be a good fit. So that wraps up Iowa for the Democrats and maybe as Edwards is a tad more charismatic and wins New Mexico but that still means that Bush wins. Now if he wins North Carolina, he can win without Ohio, but lets say that he does well, wins Ohio, North Carolina, and since he's already won every state Kerry lost by less than three percent, lets add Nevada.
So basically in this scenario, he rolls sixes and wins Ohio, Iowa, New Mexico, Nevada and even swings his home state of North Carolina by a razor thin margin. He also keeps it close in spite of losses in Virginia, Florida, Missouri, Colorado, and Arkansas. If he wins, we probably then see a slow withdrawal of troops from Iraq but not a full pullout. We also probably get some sort of proto-Obamacare plan and Bush's tax cuts are ended but. However, by 2008 the economy will probably still slow down and the Democrats will be blamed as they've been in office for 12 of the past 16 years. Edwards might enter 2008 with much less popularity. As for the Republicans, we probably still see McCain, Romney and Huckabee run. I'm not sure of who else would run in 2008. For sure it might seem like an easier time, but I don't know who really looks all that appealing besides those guys. Maybe a more popular religious conservative runs, but I'm thinking Romney might get the nom now instead of 2012. If that happens I think Romney pulls it off, but its close.
So after this, I think Romney does okay, but with a slow recovery and not bowing to his own party to completely scrap Edwards version of OTL Obamacare, he ends up losing to Barack Obama (this time with Mark Warner as VP) and Obama wins in 2012, and in 2016 he barely edges Donald Trump, who still accuses him of not only stealing an election, but not being born in the US, and while we see no 1/6 equivalent, there are smaller incidents and given the polarizing environment, Obama seems to grow more aloof and with the Senate and House in Republican hands, many see him as a Lame Duck from 2017 on. By 2020, we see Warner running, saying he'll keep up Obama's successes, while this is lampooned by the GOP, which has a large field. However Nikki Haley pulls if off and runs in the general. I think Haley wins in that scenario but who knows. I don't want to venture further into current politics.
Bush is a wartime incumbent and would be running against a single term senator. While I do think Edwards would make OH closer and may even flip IA and on a good night for him NM, it isn't enough to unseat Bush.