In its basic sense, HTML is standalone. It is independent from CSS especially from the perspective of screenreaders and search engine crawlers. This goes to show about the importance of semantics and content structure in the HTML markup.
In this regard, I strongly advocate for the manipulation of the style sheet instead of the manipulation of the HTML markup.
Consider the scenario wherein you, as the front-end designer, have only 3 chances in having control over the HTML markup and on the other hand, an unlimited number of revisions and updates on the visual design aspect of the project.
This indeed is a far-fetched situation – but it definitely will get us creative in setting up the HTML markup or in planning ahead. This scenario encourages us to use semantic names in the
class attribute of the HTML markup as opposed to peppering it with presentational class names which are heavily tied up with the style sheet.