I almost always go Merchant Republic. The 2 wildcards are almost too strong. Taking monarchy means I am giving up something critical - either I can’t use a legacy card, I have to forgo a district adjacency boost, or an expansion card like settlers/workers. I only need red slots to build up a military from scratch; its more the fault of red cards than red slots though. I did make myself a small mod to rebalance some of the slots on tier 2 and 3 governments, and with that on I actually think about it more.