as early as 1922, the Association against the Prohibition Amendment had entered national contests to the extent of endorsing congressional candidates—and thereby handing the vastly more powerful Anti-Saloon League an accurate list of its foes. In 1924, when the AAPA both endorsed and opposed office seekers, it found 262 candidates for the House of Representatives "unsatisfactory." The ASL easily helped 219 of these get elected anyway. After the elections of 1926—the year when, as most historians believe, it was first obvious that a majority of the voters had deep misgivings about the Volstead Act—Congress was drier than at any earlier time. This paradox again underlines the power of the Anti-Saloon League in American political life. It also emphasizes a deeper complexity of American politics: that the wets failed to win in 1928, when the new society of individualism was already well advanced, shows again that Prohibition was seldom an isolated or organic issue and was instead intricately related to the complex nature of politics and social change.
Most participants, and certainly those from the Anti-Saloon League and the Association against the Prohibition Amendment, understood the profound conflict which faced the Democratic Party following the collapse of Woodrow Wilson. It was a conflict symbolized and personified by William Jennings Bryan and Alfred E. Smith—a clash of cultural values, ideals, and lifestyles. The conflict has been variously described as a struggle between the country and the city, the nativist and the immigrant, the liturgical and the pietist, the old America