I had the same problem on my '90 Escort and the starter was the problem.
I have a 95 Escort (auto) that has an occasional starting problem. Sometimes
when you turn the key the starter motor does not turn over. There is no
click from the solenoid, all the lights, fan, radio, etc., work. If you turn
the key off and then back on the starter motor usually kicks in, but
sometime it takes a few tries before the starter turns over.