1987 Corolla Starts When it Wants to and it Doesn't Want to Start on Monday's

87 carburated manual transmission sedan, red. Replaced the key cylinder a few years ago when I lost the key. Probably bought the cheapest cylinder I could at AutoZone. The clutch pedal is real sensitive when starting the car, meaning when starting the car you pretty much have to slowly push the pedal to the floor while turning the key and then stop when the starter engages.
A few days ago the lights in the dash went out when I tried to start the engine, as if the battery was on its way out. I pulled and tested the battery and starter and both were fine. I pulled the ground to the battery and cleaned the connections. The car started for a few days but now when I turn the key to start the engine, the lights on the dash stay on but the starter does not engage. I get nothing. Jumper cables do nothing, obviously. The car can be roll started and runs fine.
Is this an ignition switch problem ($50) or do I need another key cylinder ($40) or is it somehow connected to the stupid safety on the clutch pedal and having to have it depressed to get the starter to engage? I bought the car for $100 a few years ago and had to replace the catalytic converter immediately so I don't want to be underwater like all them real estate folks. 180K miles if that helps.