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Mike McCabe, with the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign, speaks during a Rally for Local Control outside the Capitol in Madison on Thursday, October 24, 2013. PHOTO BY MICHELLE STOCKER

A new group headed by former Wisconsin Democracy Campaign director Mike McCabe aims to restructure the priorities of American political parties.

Blue Jean Nation, a citizen group that describes itself as "commoners working to house the politically homeless and transform parties that are failing America," launched on Monday.

Its goal is not to create a third party, McCabe said, but to fashion a "first party." It intends to work within the two-party system to ensure that at least one party is "truly dedicated to doing the will of the people," either by replacing current parties with new alternatives or by transforming the existing parties.

According to the group, both the Democratic and Republican parties are currently putting moneyed interests ahead of the majority of people they represent.

The group plans to shy away from "liberal" and "conservative" labels, instead focusing on the wants and needs of common people.

"We are not starting a third party. We are neither elephant nor ass, but we recognize that America has a two-party system and we plan to work within that system to get the parties truly working for all of us and not just a favored few who are well connected politically," McCabe said in a statement. "Our end goal is to make concern for the common good far less uncommon. To reach that goal, we will work every day against political privilege."

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Blue Jean Nation launched with an organizing committee of citizens representing the state's eight congressional districts and 19 of its 72 counties.

The group plans to accomplish its goals through "community outreach, civic education and engagement, grassroots organizing, and public policy advocacy and social action."

McCabe headed the watchdog Wisconsin Democracy Campaign for 15 years, tracking the role of money in politics. He stepped down at the end of 2014. Last year, he published the book "Blue Jeans in High Places: The Coming Makeover of American Politics."

"I didn’t write the book as an academic exercise," he told the Capital Times in December. "I really wrote it as a blueprint, and blueprints are useless unless hammer hits nail. It’s time to start hammering."

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Jessie Opoien covers state government and politics for the Capital Times. She joined the Cap Times in 2013 and has also covered Madison life, race relations, culture and music. She has also covered education and politics for the Oshkosh Northwestern.