Untrue statement is untrue. I play on base 1600 maps and I will NEVER take Patrotic. In fact, it is, from a pure mechanical viewpoint, a waste to do so since, as you have pointed out time and time (and time and time and time ) again, about 30 points into a single line of Maleolvent traits renders it meaningless. From a power gamer standpoint, why would I ever want to waste a valuable trait when I can mimic it with a pitiful amount of in game resources? Sure, from a RP/immersion standpoint, taking a couple of traits in the so-called evil line cab be a bit distasteful. But I'll address that point below.
But even beyond that, the Base 1600 IAAA Game I am playing, I have room for around 250 or so planets in my empire before I conquer a single one. Thanks to all of the Harmony Crystals I traded for and relics I hooked up. And if I tried, I could probably hook up more.
Yes, if one wants to conquer a 1000+ map, one will have to get their hand dirty a little bit. Just like real life then.
But if one is going for an Ascension/Diplomatic/Scientific victory, one can easily get a core of around 200 to 250 planets and turtle the game to death. All without using the Patrotic or Maleolvent option. Ok, influence or conquest, it will be a bit more necessary. But, well if one wants to conquer people, expect to pay the price.
PS: my above statement in no way shape or form implies that I wouldn't want the LEP tweaked/looked at. But it isn't nearly the game breaking/one solution only situation you constantly make it out to be. Especially after Stardock drastically reduced the number of planets on base maps.