Not sure I get Barnett's article in Esquire about new US states. If anything, the signs are that we will be losing stars (more defacto than formal at the political level) in the next decades rather than gaining them. Managing that process smartly, is going to be a huge challenge.
Also, I don't see decentralization like the above as a negative or pessimistic outcome. In fact, just the opposite. It's the optimal and most positive outcome we could hope for.