When you're talking about the "extreme left" here, you appear to have reference to those who would "control" non-PC speech? I'm not aware of any "left" efforts to restrict what is taught (well, unless you include teaching religion in biology classes). Leftist limits on who can protest? Leftist efforts toward selective enforcement of law? (When Democratic politicians misbehave, we run them out of office - we don't cover up for them.) Leftists restrictions on religious worship (again, unless you include efforts to limit religious peoples' ability to impose their beliefs on those who believe differently)?
What is "special" about the United States? I mean, I know we have a national myth that the US is "exceptional," that we are different. But retaining "exceptional" disparity in wealth? Retaining third-world rates of poverty? Retaining a health care system that is economically rationed, and that focuses too much on critical care and not enough on preventive care? Retaining a military that outstrips the next dozen or so national militaries put together, and that is used not primarily in national defense, but in extension and defense of economic empire? Retaining - or expanding - racist restrictions on political participation? Yeah, we're "special."
How does every other advanced nation in the world manage to pay for universal health care? How do they manage this, without the benefit of having the world's reference currency, which allows essentially unlimited deficit funding of government - with the specter of the IMF watching their finances?
Our tax rates on the wealthy are historically low - by international standards, and by our own historical standards. Republicans would reduce these rates farther - to zero, if they could.
Medicare is managed in a "highly inept and clueless" manner? The Social Security Administration is "highly inept and clueless"? For that matter, the COVID-19 vaccine rollout under the Biden Administration has been "highly inept and clueless"? This is a Reaganesque myth. You do your credibility a disservice by throwing this shibboleth up against the wall. People who believe it will continue to believe it; those of us who actually look at major federal social programs... well, what we see is different. We see "believers" who scream at "liberals" to "Keep the government's hands off my Social Security! Keep the government out of my Medicare!" This, too, is American exceptionalism - exceptional irrationality.
The public option would lead to single-payer - because over time, two things would happen: First, rational people who pay for their own health insurance would abandon the private sector - because Medicare (which is what the public option would be, essentially) is simply less burdensome to consumers. (I'm retired; I've transitioned from an employer-provided Aetna plan to a Medicare plan - it's been astonishing how much more painless it is to deal with.)
Secondly, employers would realize that stepping away from their employer-provided health insurance, and pushing employees to sign up for the public option, would save them money. Not right away; not everybody. But a lot of employers - they might grandfather, and set up two-tier systems, with new employees in the public option, but that would be the direction. At the end of the day, the public option would be de facto single payer, and the costs would be the same as if we just went directly to "Medicare for all."
Ya think? The extraordinary thing is how well the feds have managed the vaccine rollout since January 20th - notwithstanding the overt resistance of the political right, and the deliberate sabotage in certain states (which is leading, predictably, to a surge in cases and deaths in those states. Looking at you, Florida.)
My principal objection to your post, VfK, is that you seem to be absolutely determined to cast this as a "both sides" situation. While I can agree that there are crazies on the extreme left, I don't see Bernie Sanders or Alexandria Ocasio Cortez as among them. Moreover, I don't see anything equivalent on the left to the armed vigilantism of the right - whether that manifests as storming the Capitol building, or seizing government facilities in the West, or confronting federal officers with an armed militia to defend the theft of federal resources. The left? When they witness police murdering somebody, they video it and release the video. That doesn't seem to me to be quite equivalent to armed insurrection. Planned Parenthood is accused of "killing babies." But we don't see supporters of Planned Parenthood assassinating right-wing preachers; we don't see pro-choice activists planting bombs in evangelical churches, or shooting up prayer meetings. (That happened, but it was a right-wing racist at the trigger, and the prayerful people were black women. Go figure.)
There is no "both sides" equivalency here; it's a disservice to pretend there is.