To those complaining about Morale
Sigh, this should be good.
First, you have to build entertainment buildings. Yes they take up space, but think of the larger picture and let us say you have an entire planet full of factories. Would you be happy living in a hell hole, working non-stop with 0 entertainment?!?! The more workers, the more buildings you need. Imagine you are at an event and crammed in there like sardines…Having fun? Populations have needs.
Don't build morale buildings ever. You will get more production out of adding more 0% approval population from farms than you will get from the entertainment buildings. And on larger maps, you will simply never, ever be able to counter the LEP penalty by late-game, so every morale building is a complete waste of a planet slot.
Second, on larger maps pick and choose your planets more wisely!!! You do not need to colonize every single planet you find. The game is about having a strategic mindset, taking every 5-6 planet to start with is simply foolish! Where do you want to expand, go for the solid planets. Ensure you secure with some influence in case the aliens try to establish a colony. Once you have an established civilization, and then back fill planets if you really want them but do not expect to get much out of them. **Just because you can and are greedy wanting every piece of land because it is in our current human nature to devour everything, try to think on a more galactic scale for the better good of your civilization***
On larger maps, colonize everything. There's no reason not to, as you will get more out of owning an extra planet than you will lose from approval penalties. Your approval will be crushed by the size of each planet's pop anyway. If you have a 'strategic mindset', you should already have recognized that there's no real downsides to having more worlds. Every planet means more population, and more population means more free production. Even if you never build any buildings on the crappy planets, you are still better off having them than not.
Did you honestly think no-one had made these points yet, or that no-one had considered them? We have. It's been argued to death. Mass-colonization is overpowered, consolidation is underpowered, and morale is ineffective as a limiter, particularly since it doesn't scale with map sizes. LEP is severely rubbish, as it kicks in too early, isn't powerful enough to matter, and doesn't punish you in any particularly meaningful way.