There are politics in every breed show, but don't mistake politics with level of difficulty and finesse. AQHA shows are big and very competitive. There are so many levels of rules, turn-out, clothing, etc. before you even get to the actual showing. I've had some people blame it on "politics", but most of these people are newbies who don't realize that there are things you may not realize you are doing wrong. Unless you've been showing a while, you'd be wise to invest in a trainer who can not only help you with your riding, but even down to what lipstick to wear or what fake tail looks best on your horse.
Otherwise, I show APHA, I'm not well known, but I do quite well. There's no denying that if you have a nice performing horse and are impeccably turned out you won't do poorly. It also doesn't hurt to get to know people and familiarize yourself with local trainers, judges, and more experienced competitors. They can give you a wealth of knowledge and networking never hurts.