This is a strangely paranoid discourse. It’s true that the centre has often found its nemesis in candidates, of the right and left, who succeeded in using online networks to outflank the traditional dominance of the centre in the print and broadcast media. But the ruling class, by definition, is the class that rules. And it is the richest ruling class in history, with the most complex and subtle instruments of domination. It has had more opportunity than any other group of people on the planet, ever, to shape politics, culture, and society. Could they really be upended by online mobs so easily?
In the background to this is a crisis in an older regime, an older way of practicing hegemony. The ruling class never rule by themselves; they never do anything by themselves. They are too divided to have a single interest. They require networks of institutions, think-tanks, lobbies, banks, media outlets and political parties to develop class-wide perspectives and strategies, and win public support. This is hegemonic in the sense that it seeks to build broad, cross-class consent for a social mission, a project for development, which in the last analysis is shaped by and for ruling class interests. It seeks to persuade people intellectually and morally, as well as chastising and disciplining them.