What's the meaning of "should" here? The news is from from NewYorker.

Steyer’s pitch to the donors was simple: “This is the best deal I’m ever going to give you. You should want to give this money, period, even if you never got anything. You can go and speak to the highest people in the Democratic congressional leadership. And we’re throwing in the President of the United States as a gimme. So you should be begging me to come.” To insure that the event left an impression on Obama, Steyer invited fifteen top donors to join him for an intimate conversation with the President before the reception for a hundred. Jim Steyer said, “Tom really hammered Obama on the pipeline.”

  • Have you looked up should in a dictionary? What does it say?
    – Matt
    Sep 25, 2013 at 3:04
  • 1
    Yes. This is a tricky one because so many meanings are in there. Is it the "should" of "I should like to." an emphasis of your desire? Or is it a recommendation ...
    – user2492
    Sep 25, 2013 at 3:06
  • I would say "should" here primarily indicates correctness. He's saying you would be making an error if you didn't want to donate money. Like: If someone asks you what you get when you add two and three, you should answer, "five". Sep 27, 2013 at 11:52

3 Answers 3


In that sentence, "should" means "ought to": For whatever reasons, Steyer thinks that the donors' best decision is to give money, even without the additional access to politicians, but that being able to meet with important people is an extra reason to donate.

  • +1 for actually answering the question in addition to explaining the passage. Sep 30, 2013 at 0:32

In this example, "You should want to give this money" is equivalent to "It is in your best interest to give this money" or "If you know what's best for you, you will want to give this money".


In this context it is a recommendation to the donors to donate to the campaign because then they will get unique access to Obama for lobbying environmental arguments directly to Obama in person at the fund-raiser event.

See the last paragraph on the previous page on the deal that Steyer had come up with:

When California Representative Nancy Pelosi, the top Democrat in the House, asked Steyer to hold the fund-raiser, to help Democrats running for Congress in 2014, he agreed, with one proviso: he would tell potential guests that they could lobby the President about the folly of approving Keystone.

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