Could a bad starter not make anything in the car come on such as the radio or the clock?
If the starter has a direct ground short, it is possible that many electrical accessories/electrical components will act like they have hardly any power or not come on at all. Fastest way to find out, by jumping the two big screws on the selinoid. (You do this by placing a screwdriver across the two bolts) The vehicle will do nothing and the starter will have some sparking to it, only if the starter or celiniod is bad. If it is good, it will attempt to start.